Brisbane A novel
Book - 2022
"In this complex novel from the winner of two of Russia's biggest literary prizes, a celebrated guitarist robbed of his talent by Parkinson's disease seeks other paths to immortality: by authorizing a biographer and adopting an exceptionally gifted thirteen-year-old musician"--
His livelihood stunted by Parkinson's disease, a celebrated guitarist gropes for the latent melodies of his life. Born in Kyiv to a Russian mother and a Ukrainian father, Gleb Yanovsky isn't a born talent on the four-string domra. But in adolescence he discovers the guitar, with its sensual curves and perfect responsiveness to his fingertips. Propelled to international stardom by his "magical" tremolo, the uspekh (forward movement) of his life obscures an unresolved Ukrainian past. Gleb's German wife, Katya, provides enduring stability, but it isn't until Gleb takes on a terminally ill young protégé that he finds meaning within the cacophony. Using two narrative voices—Gleb's and the guitarist's alcohol-sodden biographer Nestor's—this novel counterposes past and present, self and other. It can be defined as an exercise in Dostoyevskian polyphony, and certainly few contemporary writers are as steeped in the Russian greats as Vodolazkin (Solovyov and Larionov, 2019). But it's also a sophisticated and frequently moving study in dissonance, dedicated to pointing out contrasts between art and life, beauty and decay, intention and outcome. And, yes, between Ukraine and Russia. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.
The winner of one of Russia’s biggest literary prizes presents the story of a guitarist robbed of his talent by Parkinson’s disease who seeks paths of immortality, including authorizing a biography and mentoring a 13-year-old virtuoso battling cancer.Review by Publisher Summary 2
"In this complex novel from the winner of two of Russia's biggest literary prizes, a celebrated guitarist robbed of his talent by Parkinson's disease seeks other paths to immortality: by authorizing a biographer and adopting an exceptionally gifted thirteen-year-old musician"--Review by Publisher Summary 3
From the INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR Eugene Vodolazkin – winner of the BIG BOOK AWARD, the LEO TOLSTOY YASNAYA POLYANA AWARD, and the READ RUSSIA AWARDFor fans of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and Umberto EcoVodolazkin’s new novel Brisbane is “a sophisticated and frequently moving study in dissonance, dedicated to pointing out contrasts between art and life, beauty and decay, intention and outcome. And, yes, between Ukraine and Russia” (Booklist).Brisbane is a richly layered, universal coming-of-age story of a musical prodigy robbed of his talent by an incurable disease who attempts to overcome his mortality. After Gleb Yanovsky, a celebrated guitarist, is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age fifty, he permits a writer, Sergei Nesterov, to pen his biography. For years, they meet regularly as Gleb recounts the life he’s lived thus far: a difficult childhood in Kyiv, his formative musical studies in St. Petersburg, and his later years in Munich, where he lives with his wife and meets a thirteen-year-old virtuoso whom he embraces as his own daughter. In a mischievous and tender account, Gleb recalls a personal story of a lifetime quest for meaning, and how the burden of success changes with age.Expanding the literary universe spun in his earlier novels, Vodolazkin explores music and fame, heritage and belonging, time and memory in this beautifully-wrought and relevant tale that carefully unravel into a puzzle: Whose story is it – the subject's or the writer's? Are art and love really no match for death? Is memory a reliable narrator? In Brisbane, the city of our dreams, as in music, Gleb hopes he’s found a path to eternity – and a way to stop the clock.