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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.
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Provocation

Provocation

VECHE, 2016
This is a novel about an unusual character, who got into an unbelievable situation: a young lady is haunted by four secret services and she is under investigation of two prosecutions – in Russia and in Britain. Varya, a Board director of an international bank, is turned overnight into a criminal. This so absurd, it’s practically Kafka! The only way for Varya to cope with it is to write a novel, turning her grim reality in noir comedy. In this novel Varya finds all clues as to how the provocation against her happened. She sees clearly all provocation’s participants, knows exactly what each secret service officer in which country says and does, she understands the triggers and the motives, she sees through the curtains. And… she falls in love with her British lawyer, Matthew Darsy, who appears to be the white knight, rescuing her. It could not be otherwise: when you cope with unconceivable reality, there is no world and no life beyond the world, which you build for yourself. It does not matter, if this world is real or not. Matthew rescues Varya, they are both in love, they celebrate their victory in Matthew’s house in England. Embracing Matthew in her sleep, Varya hears a strange sound…. She gets up, opens the door… and there the Moscow police raids into her Moscow flat with a search warrant.. Borders between reality and fantasy get blurred, now, it is the main character, who struggles to conceive where the reality is. She feels that all, what is happening to her, has been pre-determined by those forces behind the scene, that only appeared to be fictional. She perceives herself to be a marionette in their power games. Thriller mixed with love melodrama materializes into ruthless reality and does not want to end. Varya decides – against all odds – to return to England. Not to embrace Matthew, but to stand the criminal trial. Most likely Varya is insanе, but the author observes her heroine and thinks that there is only one thing, that Varya knows to be real and true: she must regain her freedom.