Synopses & Reviews
Morning in Moscow. Andrei Danilovich Komyaga wakes from a drunken stupor to the sound of a whip, a scream, a groan. Its only his ringtone — and this is just another day in the life of an oprichnik, one of the reconstituted nobility who rule this, the new New Russia. In this empire cell phones coexist with practices drawn from the draconian codes of Ivan the Terrible. For Russia has leaped back in time. All borders to the West are closed. The free press has been banished. All free enterprise has been appropriated to the state in the person of "Papa," a ruler who may be — for all we know — Vladimir Putin in twenty years time. In this retro future, Vladimir Sorokin gives us a day with Komyaga and his band of merry thugs, whose main duty and pleasure is to suppress any threat to Papa through acts of spectacular violence.
Day of the Oprichnik is a brief, disturbing, unexpectedly hilarious glimpse of a future straight out of the history books or CNN. It is also a defining look at the extraordinary brilliance, wit, and madness of the man described by Keith Gessen (in The New York Review of Books) as the "only real prose writer, and resident genius" of late-Soviet fiction.
“Vladimir Sorokin is one of Russias greatest writers, and this novel is one of his best. Day of the Oprichnik is a haunting and terrifying vision of modern Russia projected two decades into the futureor maybe not the future at all. A joy to read — more entertaining, dynamic, engaging, and deeply hilarious than a dystopian novel has any right to be.” Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan and Super Sad True Love Story
“Day of the Oprichnik is Vladimir Sorokin's funniest and most accessible book since The Queue. The KGB orgy scene at the end is worthy of the great shit-eating scenes of his earlier work.” Keith Gessen, author of All the Sad Young Literary Men
“If queues were arranged in order of merit, it would only be fair to put...Vladimir Sorokin at the head.” Lucy Ellman, The Guardian
“Sorokin [is] one of Russia's funniest, smartest and most confounding living writers.” Elaine Blair, The Nation
“Controversy chases the Russian writer Vladimir Sorokin the way a dog chases a stick.” Ken Kalfus, The New York Times Book Review
"Russia loves to suffer, doesn't it? Nothing confirms its greatness more thoroughly than a capacity for pain, with the renowned ability to drink serving as a sort of corollary to this spiritual resilience. To suffocate for decades under the Marxist-Leninist aegis, to grow potatoes in empty urban lots during the disastrous democratization of the Yeltsin years, to watch Putin reclaim the power (and the wealth) of a czar -- these are tragedies, for sure, but they are also nails on a cross to which Holy Russia all too willingly affixes itself." Alexander Nazaryan, The New Republic (Read the entire New Republic review)
Originally published in Russia as Den oprichnika.
About the Author
Vladimir Sorokin, whose work was banned in the Soviet Union, is the author of many novels, plays, short stories, screenplays, and a libretto. He has won the Andrei Bely Prize and was nominated for the Russian Booker Prize. He lives in Moscow.