In the Berlin of technological progress, where Skype, e-mail and text messages characterize everyday life, two disparate characters meet: the charismatic writer Andy, who cultivates a fatal penchant for alcohol, and the mysterious narrator of this story, whom he calls Bubush. A love affair develops between the two, and they move to San Francisco, which is populated by ex-hippies, beatniks, and aging gangsters. But instead of building a future there, Andy clings to the ghosts of the past, especially his mother, who miraculously survived in Paris during the Nazi occupation. Ghostly, she meets him smoking on the roof, forgetting her lipstick in the bathroom and lurking at the head of his bed. His increasing disruption does not leave Bubush untouched; she becomes hostage to Andy's trauma and madness. When one day she catches sight of the deserted island of Alcatraz, the legendary prison, she has only one wish: to escape. In her new novel full of curious moments, Julia Kissina sensitively tells of the desperate attempt to bring together two fundamentally different worlds, born of the trauma of memory and the desire for change. A captivating journey on aberrations from the Paris of the 1940s to the Berlin and San Francisco of the present.
Shortlisted for the Russian National Bestseller Literature Award 2022
Russian original and English sample available
Julia Kissina, born in 1966 in Kiev, studied at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Until 1990 she lived in Moscow, where she was part of the unofficial artistic and literary life. She now lives as a freelance artist and writer in Berlin and New York.
"An incredibly charming book about love and madness." – Aglaya Toporova