Monday, 24 December 2012

Sin (Zakhar Prilepin)

Title: Sin
Author: Zakhar Prilepin
Published: 2012 (first published 2007)
Publisher: Glagoslav Publications
Translated: Simon Patterson / Nina Chordas
Pages: 272
Source: Review copy
Genres: Translated Literature
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Sin is the story of Prilepin's life told in a series of short stories in non-chronological order. From a hard drinking grave digger, to a young boy, a soldier in Chechnya and a father, each chapter tells some aspect of Prilepin's life. Translated from Russian and published by UK based Glagoslav Publications, this award winning Russian novel is trying to break into a new market.

I really liked the unique structure of this book. Some may find it difficult but I liked how it was simply a series of snippets of a life rather than a chronological auto-biography, it made a far more intriguing read. Not all of this book blends well as a story, some of the individual stories jumped around a little and were a bit hard to follow but overall I enjoyed it. Prilepin is a very poetic writer and even includes a poem chapter in his novel. Unfortunately I'm not great with poetry but somehow it seemed to work.

I'll admit this isn't the easiest of reads, I think anyone who is new to translated literature or does not enjoy a more abstract story-telling may struggle with this, but it's a good book for those interested in translated literature and especially those who are interested in Russian culture. This is not a light read, some of the stories were hard to read as it was not an easy life. I haven't read any Russian literature before and this novel pleasantly surprised me.

There were a few spelling and grammatical errors which I hope will be ironed out in final publications (I received a review copy) but it didn't detract from the story and overall the the translation was very good.

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