A novelist who works miracles with the mundane - Igor Sakhnovsky,

A young man hears the voice of his long-dead grandmother ordering him to go to a nearby town. At the train station, he inadvertently saves the life of a homeless man. This man turns out to be his grandfather, who was thought to have perished in the camps many years ago. These serendipitous events – which the author asserts are true – prompted the then 30-year-old poet and magazine editor to pen his first novel, "The Vital Needs of the Dead."

Sakhnovsky, now 54, writes prose that has the potential to become classic literature: the stylistic originality and opulent language combine with unconventional and entertaining plots where the mundane and the miraculous merge organically into one, becoming seamless and inseparable.
Many of the characters are based on real people but are joined by archetypes including a ghost, a wandering Jew, or omniscient sage. The author does not restrict himself to any particular time frame: a single novel can weave together stories of, say, the Middle Ages and the present day.
"Magic realism," thinks the reader. "Pseudo-documentary prose," said the author, who explained that, "life's cornucopia of non-fictional material renders fantasy unnecessary."
Despite such statements, the world of science fiction sometimes claims him for itself: for example, in 2008, Sakhnovsky's novel "The Man Who Knew Everything" won the Bronze Snail prize, awarded to the finest works of fiction selected by Boris Strugatsky (other winners of this award include Viktor Pelevin, Dmitry Bykov and Sergei Lukyanenko).
Sakhnovsky has also been in the running for other emblematic Russian awards. Despite not getting the final nod, he has been shortlisted for the "Big Book," "National Best Seller," and "Russian Booker" prizes.
More here.


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