Salsa, Spindle and Zero Greenwich

Shirin Shafieva

«Login to Facebook from time to time, „like“ other people’s statuses, make some reposts is quite enough for a working illusion of life, while the person is long dead. What a scaring world we are living in!» Shirin Shafieva

The world created by Shirin Shafieva is not just a scary one. As all the magic worlds created by writers, it is at least double sided, as a coin. The head side — is a juicy south summer, fruit smells, crowd hum, sounds of music, images, almost portraits of various dances. The tail side — bluish twilight, a winds blowing through the bones, a cemetery atmosphere of inevitability — more tempting than repulsive. We are drawn to the scary places whether it is a mystery or a reckless love flaming up suddenly and irrevocably. And here the disaster approaches. Every disaster has omens: be it animals and birds behaving strangely, a sudden low tide, or the sky turning an unusual colour. But only those who spend their lives waiting for a disaster can read these signs. Banu is one of these people. It is her love that became the starting point of the impending end of the world.

In the story center, a young Banu, who graduated from high school, but so far is not engaged in real adult life. Banu writes a novel in the morning and attends a dance school where she’s hopelessly in love with a salsa teacher, who is, let’s say, not the person of the most enjoyable appearance and inner world.

But there are other characters, each with with his own dark secret. In one way or another, they’re united by the old town, which inhabitants already learned how to use Facebook and do laser hair removal, but haven’t quite moved on from the old traditions yet.

Through almost every personal story goes, like a slippery snake, the salsa teacher.

However, the novel isn’t just about love. In the best traditions, there’s room for others feelings, and even more to vices. In the book dedicated to the fatal passion, there is a lot of ruthless humor, this occam blade, ruthlessly cutting off everything nostalgic to show people as they are — naked in their sincerity, patchiness and uncertainty. There’s something of Bulgakov or Marques — but only in the mood.

In short, all this makes the novel convex, breathing, alive — this is not just another book to brighten up young lasies’ leisure time, but a serious bid for something more.

Shirin Shafieva lives in Baku, Azerbaijan and writes in Russian. She is a concervation architect and a poet. Her poetry was published and nominated to several awards. In 2017 her debut novel «Salsa Spindle and Zero Greenwich» was awarded the second prize of «Russian Award»

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