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Women’s Corporation

AST Publishing House, November 2012
The new novel intertwines the shocking interpretation of biblical stories, intrigues of the big business and realistic life stories of the heroes. The plot is scandalous and eccentric: creation of a super-corporation using a tabooed resource, which people never dared to write about or even to speak openly.

Amidst the fever of preparations for the Holiday Season, of buying gifts for near and dear, the Moscow book stores ran out of the new book by Elena Kotova “Women’s Corporation”. Sold out! Completely! Readers, counting on entertaining. Intellectual and capturing reading over the holidays dashed to internet book-store “OZON” (Russian equivalent of “Amazon”), but, alas, even this vendor ran out of the new arrival a few days later. Strange sale policy of the publishing house and our book stores: during the peak sales period, when all producers and vendors work 24/7, out book dealers decided that they are also entitled to rest, and to holidays. And the readers were told that the new portions of Kotova’s book “Women’s Corporation” would reappear in the store only in mid-January.

Book reviews
Reader comments
02.12.2012. sobakajs (livejournal)
Women’s Corporation – a novel, which is quite realisitic, not to say, down-to-earth, and phantasmagoric at the same time. Extremely serious, one can call it “art-house” but extremely funny, even wild. Yes. Wild. Someone would call it obscene, but I am impressed how the author pulls down the masks and removes taboos from many themes prohibited for discussion. How the women get insane from fear to loose their attractiveness of the youth, and get involved in all idiotic adventures with plastic surgeries, liposuctions, paying for young boys. How the men are unhappy with their “wives of the first wave” – one has become a laborholic, the other doesn’t want to have sex anymore, the third one nags her husband 24/7, the fourth has drinking problems unable to keep herself busy. How the young girls, lovers of those men, become only too soon exactly like the wives, although the men obtained these girls formostly in order to escape from the tyranny of the wives. The author revealed – skillfully, sharp, like a snake – many human vices. She did not spare either the biblical themes and explained that God encouraged prohibition of cognition, while the Devil – he pushed the people, women in the first place, towards passion, search and doubts. But the plot is something unthinkable. The talented women, after spending half of their lives in gossiping about the unfairness of the world, which is organized according to men’s rules, have created an insurance society “Beyond the Fringe”. Just read the Charter, it’s worth it! The women of 18-45 pays premiums from the dough, which (quote) “each normal woman receive from men”. Once she goes over “The Fringe”, in other words at menopause – the receive the insurance (a hefty one) and are free to spend it either to continue the “games of the youth”, or to develop their own shareholding society, if by that age they’ve understood that that true power of women is irresistible regardless of the age, and a woman ought only not to allow the society to deprive her of this power, and the society had been doing ever before. Here you’d find the Old Testament, Faust, Dante, Milton, Aristotle, – all of them had contributed to canonization of the men’s superiority. The most frightening is that the women had not only accepted this, but oddly started to believe that this is even convenient… So, using this resource – even scary to say out loud – the women’s menopause the women create a huge corporation. Here start the men’s resistance, their mean competition, the resistance of the “power”, which attempt to encourage the men’s upheaval, and all of the above get mixed into such a deliciously intellectual and hilarious carnival that the “Fringes” – of the reality, of the serious and of buffoonery, of the truth of life and of phantasmagorical – one can hardly see them anymore. Impossible to resist the novel. I strongly recommend.
Nikolay Zlobin, American-Russian political scientist, writer and columnist
Reluctantly, I have started to read “Women’s Corporation”. Reluctance was caused by the lack of time, as I have already learned from the first two books by Kotova that once I start, it would be difficult to stop. This was exactly what happened. In short, congratulations! You don’t stop to surprise me. This time, by having written a book, which theme and style is so different from the first two ones. In short, it’s very good that they’d kicked you out of this f*cking bank, and provided you with an opportunity to write good literature. At least the EBRD President Mirow has done something worthy, if not for you than for us. I never was a fan of women’s prose, but lately started to see that I am less and less satisfied by male writers trying to write about women. They can’t make it believable and natural and, if you wish, too male-oriented. To understand women, one should read female prose. You are just and ideal example of a person, capable of explaining a contemporary successful Russian woman is, with all her pluses and minuses, with all the phantoms in her head, with her husbands, money and personal problems. It’s cool that you manage to explain it intelligently ( I mean the old good Russian language school), delicately, not vulgar and clever. It’s a delight to read your texts regardless of the theme. A phenomenon which come across today not that often. Plus irony, sarcasm, satire, philosophy and even business 101 in one bottle. The pot is robust, the idea is clever, never touched before, the characters are real, even those, who – according to the plot – ought to be mystical. Never thought about this Fringe of women’s life.. Now I see it do much clearly what is happenining to all of you, why you start to get hysterical and jump at us, men, literary and allegorically. At least, having read your book, I would be able to take this phenomenon more rationally. Men perceive themselves and what it brings them in a very different way. But this is already a theme for a male writer. Once again – congrats!!!
Natalia Podsoblyaeva
Elena! Yesterday I turned over the last page of “Women’s Co”. Wonderful, intelligent, dynamic and mostly important — absolutely modern story... A lot of colorful, recognizeable characters, unexpected turns of the narrative, of intrigues and very human emotions and feelings... As a representative of women around forty, I was thrilled to find how timely, how topical is the theme of women’s fear of a certain “Fringe”... Thank you for a great work and bring us more fun with your new books!
Book reviews
02.12.2012. sobakajs (livejournal)
Women’s Corporation – a novel, which is quite realisitic, not to say, down-to-earth, and phantasmagoric at the same time. Extremely serious, one can call it “art-house” but extremely funny, even wild. Yes. Wild. Someone would call it obscene, but I am impressed how the author pulls down the masks and removes taboos from many themes prohibited for discussion. How the women get insane from fear to loose their attractiveness of the youth, and get involved in all idiotic adventures with plastic surgeries, liposuctions, paying for young boys. How the men are unhappy with their “wives of the first wave” – one has become a laborholic, the other doesn’t want to have sex anymore, the third one nags her husband 24/7, the fourth has drinking problems unable to keep herself busy. How the young girls, lovers of those men, become only too soon exactly like the wives, although the men obtained these girls formostly in order to escape from the tyranny of the wives. The author revealed – skillfully, sharp, like a snake – many human vices. She did not spare either the biblical themes and explained that God encouraged prohibition of cognition, while the Devil – he pushed the people, women in the first place, towards passion, search and doubts. But the plot is something unthinkable. The talented women, after spending half of their lives in gossiping about the unfairness of the world, which is organized according to men’s rules, have created an insurance society “Beyond the Fringe”. Just read the Charter, it’s worth it! The women of 18-45 pays premiums from the dough, which (quote) “each normal woman receive from men”. Once she goes over “The Fringe”, in other words at menopause – the receive the insurance (a hefty one) and are free to spend it either to continue the “games of the youth”, or to develop their own shareholding society, if by that age they’ve understood that that true power of women is irresistible regardless of the age, and a woman ought only not to allow the society to deprive her of this power, and the society had been doing ever before. Here you’d find the Old Testament, Faust, Dante, Milton, Aristotle, – all of them had contributed to canonization of the men’s superiority. The most frightening is that the women had not only accepted this, but oddly started to believe that this is even convenient… So, using this resource – even scary to say out loud – the women’s menopause the women create a huge corporation. Here start the men’s resistance, their mean competition, the resistance of the “power”, which attempt to encourage the men’s upheaval, and all of the above get mixed into such a deliciously intellectual and hilarious carnival that the “Fringes” – of the reality, of the serious and of buffoonery, of the truth of life and of phantasmagorical – one can hardly see them anymore. Impossible to resist the novel. I strongly recommend.
Reader comments
Nikolay Zlobin, American-Russian political scientist, writer and columnist
Reluctantly, I have started to read “Women’s Corporation”. Reluctance was caused by the lack of time, as I have already learned from the first two books by Kotova that once I start, it would be difficult to stop. This was exactly what happened. In short, congratulations! You don’t stop to surprise me. This time, by having written a book, which theme and style is so different from the first two ones. In short, it’s very good that they’d kicked you out of this f*cking bank, and provided you with an opportunity to write good literature. At least the EBRD President Mirow has done something worthy, if not for you than for us. I never was a fan of women’s prose, but lately started to see that I am less and less satisfied by male writers trying to write about women. They can’t make it believable and natural and, if you wish, too male-oriented. To understand women, one should read female prose. You are just and ideal example of a person, capable of explaining a contemporary successful Russian woman is, with all her pluses and minuses, with all the phantoms in her head, with her husbands, money and personal problems. It’s cool that you manage to explain it intelligently ( I mean the old good Russian language school), delicately, not vulgar and clever. It’s a delight to read your texts regardless of the theme. A phenomenon which come across today not that often. Plus irony, sarcasm, satire, philosophy and even business 101 in one bottle. The pot is robust, the idea is clever, never touched before, the characters are real, even those, who – according to the plot – ought to be mystical. Never thought about this Fringe of women’s life.. Now I see it do much clearly what is happenining to all of you, why you start to get hysterical and jump at us, men, literary and allegorically. At least, having read your book, I would be able to take this phenomenon more rationally. Men perceive themselves and what it brings them in a very different way. But this is already a theme for a male writer. Once again – congrats!!!
Natalia Podsoblyaeva
Elena! Yesterday I turned over the last page of “Women’s Co”. Wonderful, intelligent, dynamic and mostly important — absolutely modern story... A lot of colorful, recognizeable characters, unexpected turns of the narrative, of intrigues and very human emotions and feelings... As a representative of women around forty, I was thrilled to find how timely, how topical is the theme of women’s fear of a certain “Fringe”... Thank you for a great work and bring us more fun with your new books!
Where does the money come from, Karl?

Where does the money come from, Karl?

Alpina Publisher, 2018

Having created six fiction books, Elena Kotova changes her writing genre. Non-fiction, pop-science about economics and economic history. One of those rare books that provides life changing knowledge.

Where does the money come from? How is social wealth created? Does Russia have its own "special path"? The author answers these questions analyzing the most significant theories and the largest reforms of the 20th century, constantly comparing Western countries and Russia.

Elena Kotova begins her story about the path traversed by the West and Russia in the XX century, about the development of world economic laws analyzing the doctrine by Karl Marx. The most paradoxical statement of the author is: the iconic reformers of the 20th century - Stolypin, Witte, Roosevelt, the inventor of the "German miracle" Ludwig Erhard, the grocer’s daughter Thatcher - cleared the way for the laws discovered by Marx. Great theorists Keynes, Friedman, Samuelson, declaring their "anti-Marxism", used these laws to the fullest, believing that the latter had opened up to the world by themselves. And Marx became famous as the author of only one idea - the "dictatorship of the proletariat", which was taken up by the bloody dictators and demagogues of the 20th century. Meanwhile, by the middle of the 20th century, the leading countries had overcome both the "exploitation" and "oppression" that so resented Karl. And what's left? The laws remained - natural, which cannot be canceled. Elena Kotova explains the most complex economic matters in a simple and lively language, seasoned with a fair amount of humor.

The story of the theories and reforms of advanced countries now and then returns to Russia. The author explains the reasons for its backwardness, defects in the tax system, corruption, failure of “diversification and modernization”, fear of foreign investors. Nevertheless, - Kotova believes, - Russia is developing, albeit slowly and painfully, there are many examples of this in the book. It is precisely the “defect of thinking” that prevents one from moving faster. Aggressive arguments of a pair of millions of "intellectual and educated" do not lead to an agreement about where to move. And the rest of the people, who are not at all stupid and certainly not to blame for the fact that their mind and way of life have been crippled for centuries, have been discouraged to think what kind of country they’d like to have.

Elena Kotova declares: “Money is created either by the free labor of a free person, and then people themselves turn their state into a developed country. Or - by the labor of a person who gave up his freedom to the state for the sake of the illusion of justice and equality. Then the money is an order of magnitude less, and it goes not to people, but to the state. At the same time, the state can make atomic bombs and cruise missiles, but most people will still only survive, and the country will remain backward".

“There will be no money and no development in the country as long as traditional Russia lives with its myths of the past. There is no other way for it but to follow the way of the developed countries of the Atlantic".

"A person works either for profit or under threat of punishment".

Half-life

Half-life

VECHE, December 2014
The novel “Half-life” (2014) is already appreciated by the reader, who perceive it to be a story about “Gone with the Wind. From Tambov to Long-Island”. All names are real, and all characters are fictional. Very unorthodox and provocative story. The characters inhabiting this unorthodox novel by the Russian-American author Elena Kotova are real, actual people, some of whom have been well-known in the past (Commissar Ordzhonikidze, composer Khachaturian, violinist Oistrakh, US Ambassador to the Soviet Union W. A. Harriman), and are well-known in the present (Mayor Luzhkov, tycoons Khodorkovsky and Gusinsky, Central Bank chair Gerashchenko). We begin the story on the first day of the twentieth century in the city of Tambov, where a noble family is raising seven brothers and sisters; and we end the story on the first day of the twenty-first century, among the skyscrapers of New York, home to two distant fifth-generation cousins of the same family who barely know each other. In between these two moments in time we live through unexpected twists of fate, we settle into the warmth of family routine, we suffer through internal family conflicts and external tragedies, we witness how the family copes with the inevitable half-lifes of each generation, which divide the family into the “before” and the “after”. Many questions haunt us throughout the novel, and the one which is the most poignant to the contemporary reader is how does this family's story, begun in the idyllic setting of a noble life in provincial Tambov, end on the shores of the New World. The new book by Elena Kotova is indeed the novel of the century, a courageous work of art built around real-life events and people.