I am actively seeking a publisher for my English translation of Andrey’s novel World Creation Recipes. Andrey himself holds the foreign rights.
‘Love is irrational. It endures everything and listens to no one. This is its strength; this is why in all conditions it is all-conquering.’
Andrey was born on 7 July 1969 in the formerly closed city of Tomsk, the 400-year-old ‘Athens of Siberia’ and centre of White Russian resistance during the Russian Civil War. He grew up surrounded by books; Vasiliy Aksenov (author of ‘The Burn’ and ‘Generations of Winter’) was a particular favourite. In 1994 he graduated from Tomsk State University with a degree in philosophy. He has been a journalist for TV-2 and worked with ‘Radio Svoboda’.
Andrey is the founder of the ambulatory poetry festival ‘PlaseNigde’.His poetry and stories have appeared in Nestolichnaya literatura, Antologiya russkogo verlibra, Sibirskiye ogni, Vavilon, and elsewhere.
World Creation Recipes uses archive material, the author’s conversations with his grandmother Galina, and Andrey’s acute poetic ear for language (sometimes harsh, sometimes playful, often soulful, occasionally shocking) to take us twisting and turning from Ivanovo to Odessa to Kiev to the closed city of Tomsk, with glimpses of Europe as seen through Soviet eyes along the way. The heart of the book is the love between the author’s grandparents Galina and Dima, and that central theme sends out sundry radial narratives: the disappearance in WWII of Galina’s brother Vitya and Dima’s mother and sister, the arrest and disappearance of Dima’s father, the trouble brought on Dima and
Galina by the emigration to England of Dima’s half brother, the birth of Galina and Dima’s son Victor (the author’s father) during a fight to save Galina’s life from dysentery, and on to Galina’s and Dima’s own eventual deaths at venerable ages. The end is an hallucinatory coda – a trip to counterpoint the journey taken by the narrative – in which we learn how Andrey found the strength (and love) to write the book.
Here is a link to my translation of the opening of World Creation Recipes, published by B O D Y in May 2021.
And here is a link to an interview with Andrey, conducted in Russian by Annie Fisher and me and translated by me, also published in B O D Y in May 2021.
Andrey Filimonov is a new, very fresh voice on Russia’s literary scene, and his novels have made an immediate impact in his home market. Both World Creation Recipes and his debut novel Manikin And The Saints were nominated for the Big Book and National Bestseller awards. ‘Manikin’ was also nominated for the NOS prize, and World Creation Recipes won a Reader’s Favourite award in the Big Book competition.
Emigration to Georgia
Following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Andrey and his wife left Russia for Georgia. Andrey is planning to write a book on the subject; meanwhile, he has written a short initial essay on his experiences at the Russia-Georgia border, which I have translated.
Here is a link to the original essay:
On translating Andrey
Andrey writes like a man sprinting through a massive supermarket with a huge trolley, his eyes and hands darting left, right, up, down, forward and back, sweeping items off the shelves at lightning speed and in what order you’re not at first sure, and suddenly, bam! How did that happen? A full trolley containing meat & veg, fruit & fibre, sweet & sour—a rich, varied, satisfying and rounded diet for a nice long time. Within a page or two I was ‘inside’ the book. Andrey has a sure sense of character, place, and time, and writes with admirable confidence at every level from word to sentence to section to overall frame. At the same time, this was not merely a ‘good book with great characters and a compelling storyline’; there was something more at work here. Galina, Dima, the redoubtable Maria Vasilyevna … they were in the room with me; I saw them, heard them, felt them. It still seems inconceivable that they are no longer alive. Of course they are alive. Literary translators have to love anything they are translating, and I love what I translate. This type of connection with a work, though, is something to be prized; it does not happen in quite this way every time.
Further sample translations from World Creation Recipes are available on request.