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From award-winning author Eugene Vodolazkin comes this poignant story of memory, love and loss spanning twentieth-century Russia
A man wakes up in a hospital bed, with no idea who he is or how he came to be there. The only information the doctor shares with him is his name: Innokenty Petrovich Platonov.
As memories slowly resurface, Innokenty begins to build a vivid picture of his former life as a young man in Russia in the early twentieth century, living through the turbulence of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath. Soon, only one question remains: how can he remember the start of the twentieth century, when the pills by his bedside were made in 1999?
Reminiscent of the great works of twentieth-century Russian literature, with nods to Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment and Bulgakov's The White Guard, The Aviator cements Vodolazkin's position as the rising star of Russia's literary scene.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
`Vodolazkin's grip on this narrative is iron-tight... We should expect nothing less from an author whose previous novel, Laurus, was a barnstorming thriller about medieval virtue.' * <i>Guardian</i> * `An unabashed, panoramic view of the landscape of human consciousness... Draped in thoroughly Russian trappings, The Aviator speaks to common experience while soaring into realms that enfold the human drama below.' * <i>Foreword Reviews</i> (starred review) * `A fascinating, science fiction-tinged chronicle of a century in Russia.' * BBC Culture * `Crisply focused, rich in sensory detail... The arc of the narrative is as simple and clever as a philosopher's parable. But this is also a deeply emotional book...a quietly radical novel, animated by the spirit of Dmitry Likhachev, an academic who knew what it was to suffer the blows of history first-hand.' * <i>Words Without Borders</i> * `Evocative and enigmatic...despite this book's gentle love story or its murder mystery or its sf flourishes, it is, in many ways, a quintessentially Russian novel, as vivid and probing as they come.' * <i>Booklist</i> (starred review) * `A brilliant, thought-provoking read.' * Historical Novel Society, Editor's Choice * `Engaging... Those familiar with twentieth-century Russian history will delight in the swirl of memories that emerge over the course of the narrative.' * <i>World Literature Today</i> * `Profound.' * <i>Shelf Awareness</i> * `A chunk of Russian mastery on display here. An exceptional read.' * <i>Weekend Sport</i> * `Engrossing, with some surprising turns... This device of a man out of time, waking up in a future world he doesn't recognize, has become almost cliche, but is deftly used here to illuminate the ways memory - both historical and personal - can either serve to chain us to the past or open us to eternity.' * <i>Thermidor</i> * `Since this is Vodolazkin, the writing is of course beautiful, and the narrative structure is onion-like, revealing itself carefully and elegantly as the story progresses... There is also even a touch of Dostoyevsky in this powerful novel, whereby Vodolazkin telescopes a century's horrors and dramas through the lives of a single Leningrad communal apartment's residents, all the while broaching the greater philosophical questions of existence. Highly recommended.' * <i>Russian Life</i> * `A powerful, moving story... It touched my heart in so many ways... Most highly recommended.' * Marjorie's World of Books * `Vodolazkin's second novel to be translated into English is stylistically different from its brightly filigreed, 15th century-set predecessor, Laurus, but preserves that novel's sweep and passion for history...the writing, never portentous, blows like fine, dry snow across the pages. Great reading for all audiences.' * <i>Library Journal</i> * `Vodolazkin amazes again with his exceptional mastery of language.' * <i>Style</i> (Russia) * `Captivating.' * <i>meduza.io</i> * `Exceptional.' * Dmitry Bykov, <i>Echo of Moscow</i> * `Eugene Vodolazkin sophisticatedly manipulates with genres, masters the style, and keeps the tension until the novel's last page.' * Trud *