Author(s): Guillermo Erades
A sharply observed novel about an individual and the city that shapes him in the vein of Ben Lerner's Leaving the Atocha Station, Back to Moscow is distinctive, dazzling, witty and ultimately haunting. Months after his arrival in Moscow, doctoral student Martin hasn't written a word of his thesis on Russian literature because, for him and his dissolute friends, the cheap, bright lure of nightclubs, vodka and women is predictably hard to resist. At the end of the 1990s, the city is a chaotic metropolis storming into the twenty-first century in the midst of social and political turmoil - the grim old Soviet certainties are fading as money and the new elites rise to power. Martin finds himself torn between opposing sensibilities: on the one hand, the clean, limpid beauty of Lena, whom he meets at Propaganda, and her insistence on the Mysterious Russian Soul; on the other, his research supervisor Lyudmila Aleksandrovna, trapped in the long shadow of a Soviet past. Martin's restless explorations turn into a half-understood search for something more meaningful as Moscow leads him to darker and unexpected places, places tinged by Russia's ever-present sense of impending tragedy.
Guillermo Erades was born in Spain and has lived in Leeds, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Moscow, Berlin, Baghdad and Brussels, where he is currently based. Back to Moscow is his first novel.