Heaven is No Haven

Stepan Gavrilov
288 pages;
hardcover;
2020;

To those born in the late 1990s, the past is experienced like a myth. Sometimes it is heroic, at other times ironic. And each person must decide for themselves whether he wants to be the descendant of heroes or clowns. The characters in the book by Stepan Gavrilov are revolutionaries without the revolution. Will they be able to change the world?

The action takes place in St. Petersburg and several other places in Russia, in the present day and recent past. The nameless protagonist and his numerous acquaintances are people who have left their heartland homes and moved to St. Petersburg. They do not have any distinct goals, they keep changing jobs, and in their free time they often get high. The manuscript is the life story of the protagonist, his past and present. The protagonist is tormented by the lack of social or career goals, hangs out with a crowd of free artists and idlers, crooks and even criminals and drug addicts, and keeps changing jobs, doing mostly unqualified labor. His entire being is framed in radically reflective philosophy that protests against the meaningless environment we all live in. The narrative consists of stories told by characters we meet in short encounters, which characterize the chaotic and criminal recent past of Russia.

Stepan Gavrilov was born in Miass in the Chelyabinsk Region, in 1990. He worked as a builder, handyman, advertising agent, radio host, librarian, journalist, and editor. He currently splits his time between Chelyabinsk and St. Petersburg. His stories have been published in Novaya Realnost Journal and Literratura (Лиterraтура) Online Journal.

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