by Yuri Mamleyev
Translated from the Russian by Marian Schwartz
Haute Culture Books, 2014
Almost half a century ago, in 1966, a book was published unofficially via samizdat in the Soviet Russia. A book that both terrified and dazzled the literary establishment. This was Yuri Mamleev's novel, Shatuny, today published in English as The Sublimes. This comical and metaphysical novel is somewhere between Dostoyevski and A Clockwork Orange, full of philosophy, humour, esotericism and spiritualism. Over the years, the novel became a cult classic, and Russia produced Mamleev's literary followers like Vladimir Sorokin and Victor Pelevin who continued exploring the limits of mankind and the dark side of humanity. Only a few extracts were published in the West in the 80s and the critics were overwhelmed with its power. At the time it was suggested that mankind wasn't ready for such a book. In The Sublimes, Mamleyev's figures are mystics, absurd occultists, philosophical fanatics in search of immortality, of their own "eternal ego" and of the great Absolute. They sometimes seek evidential proof of the presence of God and the continuation of life in order to find an answer to the question: What will they meet with on the other side of death?
"Yuri Mamleyev's grim and crazy novel revolutionized Russian literature." – Le Monde
"This book will change your perception of the human nature. This is literature in its boldest, art in its pure sense, – uncompromising and limitless." – Russian writer Grigory Ryzhakov