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OFF THE BEATEN TRACKS

Stories by Russian Hitchhikers

Igor Savelyev, Pale City
Irina Bogatyreva, Off the Beaten Track
Tatiana Mazepina, Traveling Towards Paradise

paper ISBN 978-717200929
ebook ISBN 9785717201049
300 pp.


“These young writers drift towards a literature of witness, they are concerned with the fragility of human contact in an age of displacement, they wish to stand outside political commitment, whether pro- or anti-, and instead to write about themselves and the city that surrounds them.” – Times Literary Supplement

“The book conveys sentiments and situations characteristic of contemporary Russia, while also revealing a profound understanding of life’s ineluctable patterns and resistances.” – Review of Contemporary Fiction

“An unusually gifted generation is entering Russian literature. Literature has not seen such an influx of energy in a long time. This new generation – both the individual writers and the phenomenon as a whole – deserves great attention.” – Olga Slavnikova, writer, the Debut is coordinator

This book about Russian hitchhikers takes the reader along the endless roads of Siberia, the Urals, the Altai, Central Russia and beyond. In energetic and vivid prose they depict some curious Russian types, exotic adventures in places off the beaten track, complex psychological relationships developing on the road, and their inexplicable passion for tramping. They call themselves “the last generation of free travelers in the world becoming increasingly more uniform and comfortable and therefore less interesting.” In via veritas is their motto. Jack Kerouac is their guru. Only on the road do they feel really free.

These authors, winners of the Debut Prize for young writers, belong to a fundamentally new generation which is now declaring itself with increasing confidence in life and literature. They are free of the Soviet legacy in many senses. Here are voices from the future. If one is curious what Russia will be like in ten years from now they can see it from the Glas-Debut collections of young Russian writers.

Igor Savelyev was born in 1983 in Ufa (Bashkiria) where he still lives and works as a crime reporter for the local news agency. He has a degree in Philology from Ufa University. His short novel Pale City, based on personal hitchhiking experiences, was shortlisted for the Debut and the Belkin prizes in 2004 and was soon published in France. Critics have noted his “masterful, finely chiseled style based on brilliant counterpoints like a virtuoso music piece.” “Here realism is bordering on phantasmagoria, a striking sample of new-generation psychological prose.”

Irina Bogatyreva, born in 1982, grew up on the Volga. She has seven novels to her name which won her several important literary prizes, including the prestigious Debut Prize for her novel Auto-Stop (Off the Beaten Track) which came out from a major publishing house in Russia. Bogatyreva spotlights the most topical issues of Russian life and enjoys both readers’ and critics’ acclaim.

Tatiana Mazepina is the latest winner of the Debut Prize for a travelogue about her Eastern travels. She is a member of the "Society of Free Travelers" and works as a journalist writing on religious matters.