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Alexander Snegirev

PETROLEUM VENUS

A novel

Translated by Arch Tait

250 pp., ISBN 978-5-7172-0096-7

The author shows to what limits an indifferent and hypocritical society can push a romantically-minded and well-meaning young person.

“An absurd and loving novel about parenthood… when kids help parents grow up…” – Russia Beyond the Headlines

“In this psychological drama oil becomes a powerful mind-transforming factor. The oil goddess makes a gift of friendship and life’s joys to the Down boy only to take life itself from him.” – Ex Libris

A tragicomic story of a successful young architect, Fyodor, the reluctant single father of an adolescent son Vanya born with Down syndrome. But when Vanya, who is reminiscent of the “rain man”, pulls a mystical painting from the wreckage of a fatal car crash, everything changes. What Vanya doesn’t know is that the model for the painting, ‘Petroleum Venus’, is his own mother, who abandoned him at birth. This is the first of a series of extraordinary coincidences that lead both father and son on a journey towards love, responsibility and acceptance.

Petroleum Venus won the Debut Prize, was shortlisted for the National Bestseller Prize, nominated for the Russian Booker, and sat on the ozon.ru bestseller list for a year.

Alexander Snegirev was born in 1980 in Moscow. He studied rchitecture but then switched to political science. Currently he works in construction design.
He won the Debut Prize for his collected stories Russian Rhymes in 2005. His short novel How We Bombed America won the Crown Prize of the Writers’ Union in 2007. His latest novel, Vanity, was named the best book of 2010.
His story “Don’t be Afraid, Girl” came out in German in Junge russische Literatur (Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag). “D.R.” was included in Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia (Tin House Books, 2009)
First published in Russian in 2008, Petroleum Venus was shortlisted for the National Bestseller Prize, nominated for the Russian Booker, and was on the ozon.ru bestseller list for a year.