This was the 21st presentation ceremony for the Russian Booker. As usual, it was very difficult to choose the best out of six finalists. Moreover, this year the jury’s decision was not unanimous. However, The Villager and the Teenager most certainly meets the main requirement of the Russian Booker, curator of the award, literary critic Igor Shaitanov says.
“Our aim is to try to make Russian literature competitive on the book market. I am convinced that this novel is capable of doing this. I don’t mean that it makes advances to the reader, on the contrary, it encourages the reader’s interest in literature.”
Andrey Dmitriev’s books have been published since the early 1980s. His debut was the short story Zero Wind in which critics gladly marked Bunin’s intonations and Chekhov’s details. With time, as Dmitriev’s literary bag grew thicker, it became clear that he is a successor of the Russian tradition of classical realism.
The action of the novel takes place in a dying village where a city youth comes in an attempt to escape conscription. The main characters are two lonely people from parallel social worlds, as the preface to the novel reads. However, at the end they are not so very lonely any more and not so far from each other. Speaking about his book, Andrey Dmitriev said:
“I’ve written about my past, my own feelings and impressions and places that I know and love. Without them I would never have written this novel.”