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Maria Galina


an adventure novel

368 pp., ISBN 978-5-7172-0082-0

Translated by Amanda Love Darragh

2009 winner of the Rossica Prize for the best translation.

“A completely new voice for me was Maria Galina. Iramifications to my mind had all the cheeky comedy of Ilf and Petrov with just a touch of Gogolian barminess.” – Robert Porter, one of the Rossica judges

Iramifications was also awarded the International Portal Prize.

“Humor is the most difficult quality to convey in translation, but Galina found in Amanda Love Darragh her perfect interpreter. The English version of Iramifications is as pleasurable to read as the Russian original. Galina's ingenuity in weaving together numerous mythological allusions and literary parallels is astounding. Apart from the Hellenic, Jewish and Arabic myths, she introduces references to popular legends and modern superstitions. The Elizabethan astrologer John Dee, the English occultist Aleister Crowley, djinns, UFOs and the infamous brigantine Mary Celeste all get mentioned, yet Galina's overpowering irony keeps the mix from descending into absurdity.” ¾ Moscow Times, August 15, 2008 (read more)

With ten novels to her name, Maria Galina is one of the most interesting authors among those who made their names in the turbulent 1990s. She is the leading exponent of "hyper-fiction," a popular new genre that blends fantasy and reality. She is also a prize-winning poet, a thoughtful critic, and a translator of English and American science fiction, in all of which she excels. After graduating from Odessa University in marine biology, Galina took part in several sea expeditions before taking up writing professionally in 1995. She has won numerous prizes for her prose, poetry and critical essays. She has been nominated for the Russian Booker and short-listed for the Russian Critics Academy Award.

A resourceful shuttle trader from present-day Odessa tricks a tourist from St Petersburg into joining him on a business trip to Istanbul. They are cheated by their Turkish partners and give chase, becoming inadvertently embroiled in the theft of a precious stele from the local ethnographic museum. In pursuit of the robbers, the companions are transported back in time to the mythical city of Iram, where they are drawn into a world of dangerous court intrigues. Iram itself evokes the exoticism of The Arabian Nights, and the adventures that take place there are reminiscent of Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Eventually the hapless traders return to Odessa and the whole trip would seem to have been a bad dream, were it not for the presence of a certain white camel…

Says Galina: "In bringing together the legends and traditions of the Hellenic, Jewish and Arabic worlds, I have attempted to create a consistent and interconnected mythological picture of the world, constructed around a monstrous intrigue as old as humanity itself."

Sample writing excerpt from the book