Minus (Vol.44 of the GLAS Series) - A Novel

Minus is a story of a trapped soul desperately trying to change his life. Senchin paints a graphic picture of post-Soviet Russia and tells you what no guidebook can, each character representing thousands of people living their lives in small villages and towns devastated by the perestroika chaos. Minus is a nickname for Minusinsk, a town in Siberia where Senchin lived in the 1990s, the time of the emerging market economy that hit ordinary people hardest and left many of them out of work. This autobiographical novel describes a group of disillusioned young people who have no more fighting spirit left and whose only consolation is drink and drugs. In contrast, their parents, the generation of the romantic 1960s, are depicted as survivors against all odds, although often that means abandoning their professions to take up menial jobs, grow their own food or go into street trade. Another contrast is provided by the vigorous backstage life of the local drama theater where the protagonist works as a stagehand. Senchin excels at a highly visual, almost photographic portrayal of people and events, including the local history and a wealth of ethnographic details. The reader inevitably feels drawn into the life of this provincial Siberian town with its glorious past and bleak present. Every generation produces a number of literary texts portraying "a hero of our time." Senchin's brilliant novel is just such a book about today's generation of disillusioned young people in their late twenties and early thirties.