Aleksandr Skorobogatov: press and reviews on the books  

De Standaard der Letteren:
Skorobogatov is considered as one of the most interesting authors of post-communist Russia.

Aleksandr Skorobogatov is an outstanding author.

De Morgen:
Aleksandr Skorobogatov is being praised in Moscow and in the West as an absolute discovery.

Gazet van Antwerpen:
Every now and then, albeit very rarely indeed, a novel or story by a totally unknown author gives a glimpse of unexpected genius. The surprise is so great, in fact, that you are compelled to read the work a second time, but now with the clear insight of the initiate. The novel “Sergeant Bertrand” by the Russian writer Aleksandr Skorobogatov is one of these rare, truly impressive achievements.

Le Figaro Livres:
A great Russian novel where the hero is a husband tortured by the demons of jealousy. With this beautiful tragic novel, Skorobogatov has carved a place for himself in the great Russian tradition.

NRC Handelsblad:
It has been many years since such an original work found its way from Russia to this country. It is such a relief, after the everyday routine and moral indifference has seemed to dominate contemporary Russian literature, to be transported to other realms of human existence. It is an impressive debut that whets the reader’s appetite for more to come.

Athens Voice:
Unmatched, timeless mastery.

In the first place, Skorobogatov wrote a beautiful, almost classic study.

De Morgen:

Bij de lectuur ervan moest ik soms terugdenken aan het verhaal Dagboek van een krankzinnige van Nikolaj Gogol. Mooi toch hoe in beide gevallen het verhaal even delirisch ontspoort, met of zonder religieuze achtergrond. Gogol dus en misschien zelfs in sommige laconiek wreed aardige details een zweem van De geverfde vogel van Jerzy Kosinski.

Gonzo Circus:
Astounding literary debut.

Gazet van Antwerpen:
The previous year, ‘Sergeant Bertrand’ received an important award, and the author became a rising star at the literary firmament.

Het Laatste Nieuws:
When you start reading Sergeant Bertrand you understand why it won this prize. It is a fascinating story that immediately grabs you by the throat (and quite honestly, by other parts of your anatomy) and doesn’t let go. The style is very laconic and pointillistic without the clutter of unnecessary details. As in minimalist music, the recurring elements heighten the reader’s apprehension. And this makes the story extremely forceful. The author manages to captivate his reader with a story that is both malicious and voyeuristic. The reader almost becomes an accessory to the fatal ending.

Algemeen Dagblad:
What he shows with this story is that decades of censorship and social-realistic literature are not sufficient to definitively exterminate individual strength of mind. There is still hope for the Russians.

NRC Handelsblad:
Most remarkably, Skorobogatov not only broaches different subjects than his fellow writers, but he writes exceptionally well.

Focus Knack:
A novel that reads as a terrifying vision and mystifies you as a David Lynch film. Great literature, great author.

Het Laatste Nieuws:
This is absolutely unique in Russian literature in general, and especially so in recent years.

NRC Handelsblad:
I read Sergeant Bertrand in one sitting, and after I had finished it, it continued to hold me in its grip.

A Russian Edgar Allan Poe story, written in a sublime and breathtaking way.

Het Laatste Nieuws:
This story would make an incredible film with an atmosphere worthy of a Polanski.

This novel is in all respects one of the most astonishing books I have read.

Gazet van Antwerpen:
‘Audience with the Sovereign’ confirms his extraordinary talent, which already emerged from his debut, the novel ‘Sergeant Bertrand’. It is one of the most wonderful literary works of recent times.

Vrijzinnige lezer:
A marvellous piece of work that combines the Great Russian traditions with the achievements of the modern European novel.

Gazet van Antwerpen:
Aleksandr Skorobogatov continues, in a modern and convincing way, the great literary tradition of the 19th century orthodox Russia of Dostoyevsky and Gogol.

Page des Libraires:
Of Russian origin, Aleksandr Skorobogatov has written what could become a modern Horla.

Femina Magazine:
This fascinating internal monologue evokes the absurd of the best Eastern European writers. A dark masterpiece of the absurd.

Le Nouvel Observateur:
When we talk about wife abuse, we think straightaway about Afghanistan, Thailand, Somalia. But what about Russian women? Just Google “Russian women” and you will find that, like their Asian or African sisters, women from Russia and Eastern European countries in general are considered as docile objects to be manipulated. In his first novel translated into French, Aleksandr Skorobogatov describes the every day life of Vera, who is married to a pathologically jealous alcoholic. The author describes the destructive feeling reinforced by alcohol with heart rending realism and brutality. (...) But behind this story of jealousy and a submissive woman lurks a critique of the Soviet era. (...) A rather detached novel, with poignant characters, that shows a small part of the Soviet reality rarely mentioned.

Matricule des Anges:
Aleksandr Skorobogatov has set up a subtle immersion in his hero's deliriums, leaving the reader a few short breaths of air from time to time. Just to touch the fragile frontier between the reality that escapes Nikolai and the images that he creates that shout out they are true. The narrative goes through the hero’s and the narrator’s hands, muddling their voices.

Literaturnaya Rossia:
It has been a long, very long time since I have read a novel that I could only tear myself away from after having turned the last page. Strong, sharp, dramatic and... bitter. A great book!

Ezhenedelny zhurnal:
Here is yet another in the string of successes from the ‘non-commercial’ series by Olma-Press, without any doubt ‘Category A literature’. I put the word ‘non-commercial’ between bashful inverted commas, because it contains the connotation of ‘not easy to read, not absorbing’. But ‘Earth without Water’ is compelling, and sweeps you along like a whirlpool — somewhat in contradiction to the title.

De Standaard der Letteren:
To say that ‘Earth without Water’ can be read as a thriller does injustice to Aleksandr Skorobogatov’s work. Yes, this book sweeps you along from the first page to the last. Yes, it is well written, with a lot of irony and black humour, but it is also a story with many layers and a subtly hidden message. It is a hallucinatory image of today’s Russia, but the motives, passions and cowardice of the personages are universal.

Druzhba narodov:
In my opinion the best novel of last year was published in the series ‘Original’ of publishing house ‘Olma’. The leader I refer to is ‘Earth without Water’ by Aleksandr Skorobogatov. Aleksandr Skorobogatov’s novel deals with the traditional themes of Russian literature, and in my opinion, he does it with the same refinement as his predecessors, thanks to whom Russian literature is considered great.

Novy Mir:
It is impossible to summarize ‘Earth without Water’ without crucial losses. The plot is either serious action-noir, or action-noir with undertones of parody — a sort of Tarantinesque twist — or it is a myth. Its tone is elegiac and detached, as if the narrator just happens to find himself in the place where he had spent his childhood, while smoking and staring at the clouds. The genre of ‘Earth without Water’ is indefinable. You can only read the novel without preconceived prejudice and predispositions. The impression is overwhelmingly strong.

Druzhba narodov:
‘Earth without Water’ by Aleksandr Skorobogatov is a ferociously absorbing novel.

Nieuw Vlaams Tijdschrift:
You read Skorobogatov in one befuddled breath.

Het Laatste Nieuws:
In short, Mr Skorobogatov is a stellar talent, one to keep an eye out for.

Gazet van Antwerpen:
It would be a lot easier if his name was simply Smith or so, but this is unfortunately not the case: Aleksandr Skorobogatov is a name to remember.

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