Andrei Kuzechkin, born in 1982, grew up in a small town of Bor near Nizhni Novgorod on the Volga. Graduate of the Nizhny Novgorod University, majoring in philology, he worked as a village teacher, street cleaner, hospital security guard, librarian, and journalist. Currently works at the Dostoyevsky Library in Nizhny Novgorod as well as writing journalism. Kuzechkin is also a well-known rock musician. He plays harmonica and sings with various rock bands. He is a winner of the annual prize of October magazine and a finalist in the Debut Prize for his novel Mendeleev Rock. His published books include Aborigine-digest, All Ten Fingers, Mendeleev Rock, I Won’t Grow Up, and Magma. The latest novels by Kuzechkin have been published in magazines and online so far: Insane Lily, The Town of Svyatokamensk, City Without Qualities.
In his novels Kuzechkin describes typical provincial towns in Central Russia and presents a gallery of recognizable modern-day types: radically-minded youths, ruthless thugs, drunken intellectuals, Christian sectarians, the local elite and failed fortune seekers. They yearn for faraway glamorous cities and try to find their identity. His novels present a vivid portrait of the modern generation of young Russians in their late teens and early 20s stunned by their first painful contacts with the harsh reality.
Kuzechkin’s literary idols are Gogol, Bulgakov, and Kurt Vonnegut.
“Kuzechkin’s style sparkles with colorful dialogues, street talk and bon mots… Very good read… For many people this novel may become a manual of survival…” – Novy Mir magazine
“Kuzechkin’s book reads effortlessly… it is a fine contribution to the Nizhni Novgorod page in Russian literature.” – Novaya Gazeta
Insane Lily, a novel.
Lena is a problem teenager whose hobby is to secretly photograph shocking scenes and send the pictures to her unsuspecting models. She is also a gifted artist drawing horror comics which she sells to a local online magazine. She hates all people and especially her mother’s new husband and his daughter Julia, also in her late teens. One day the step sisters’ confrontation turns into its opposite: they suddenly become illicit lovers, exploring passionately the forbidden field of Lesbian love.
At the same time Lena is being blackmailed by someone calling himself Mortibus who gives her various assignments and threatens exposure if she disobeys. Her life gets increasingly complicated and tense, but she can’t find an outcome. In the end it transpires that Mortibus, who has been poisoning Lily’s life for two years, is her step sister in fact, the same Julia who has seduced her into forbidden sex. Finally, Lena’s mother and Julia’s father separate and go away. Lena is finally free. Life takes its normal course.
This novel-provocation gives the reader an insight into the inner world of a young person who is different from the crowd. It shows what it means to be the other and calls for tolerance.
Mendeleev Rock, a novel (published in Glas No. 49).
Synopsis + excerpt
The action in Mendeleev Rock takes place in a typical provincial town in Central Russia and presents a gallery of recognizable modern-day types: radically minded youths, ruthless thugs, drunken intellectual, Christian sectarians, the local elite and failed fortune seekers. The hero is yearning for faraway glamorous cities and tries to find his identity. He used to be the leader of a rock group “Adenoma” that at some point in the past had a brief success but then fell apart. In search of positive inspiration, he visits all sorts of weird places including a religious sect and a local criminal gang. The hero is torn between his two loves, and finally makes his choice in favor of a wild punk girl just to be abandoned by her without any apparent reason.
The novel is a vivid portrait of the modern generation: young people in their late teens and early 20s stunned by their first painful contacts with the harsh reality. Kuzechkin traces the fatal periods in each character’s life as if it were a case history of a mortal disease: infection, incubation period, illness, crisis, agony, clinical death. However, the epilogue is aptly called “Reincarnation” offering a life-asserting finale.
Aborigine’s Digest. Notes of a Rural Teacher
(Reminiscent of Bel Kaufmann’s “Up the Down Staircase”)
Harsh and witty, this is a starkly frank story of a philology college graduate nicknamed Aborigine who takes a job at a rural school and tries to cope with the wild local schoolchildren. The setting and the spirit are reminiscent of Bel Kaufman’s “Up the Down Staircase” – this is what she would write if she landed in that god-forsaken village. Finally the teacher and his students come to terms in a way and learn to respect and appreciate one another.