2013-09-11 17:34:13 - Sergei Shargunov’s A Book Without Photographs follows the young journalist and controversial political activist through selected snapshots from different periods of his remarkable life.
Whether it’s a fading school photo or a relic from his Soviet childhood as the son of a priest in a hostile anti-religious environment, Shargunov uses them to paint unsettling portraits of the people who influenced his personality and opinions the most. Through memories both sharp and vague, we see his experience of growing up during the fall of empire and studying journalism at Moscow State University; his trip to war-torn Chechnya and Kyrgyzstan during the revolution; his first steps towards a fledgling political career where he is confronted with an unwritten code that keeps him on the edge.
Shargunov creates sketches that meld the journalistic and the personal. In them, Shargunov is the voice of the generation of today’s Russia’s
thirty-year-olds who had seen it all. This is the generation that advances science, business and economy, re-invents culture and moves forward Russian national idea. Framing these sketches are stories told to him by his grandmother, uncle and other family members, which give this book a chronological scope much greater than Shargunov’s own three decades of memories. In illuminating the resonance of events from one generation to the next, the book reflects the vast social and cultural transformations that colour Russia's recent history and mirrors the experience of an entire generation of Russians whose lives and feelings are inextricably intertwined with the fate of their homeland.
Shortlisted for the National Bestseller Prize and a contender for The Big Book Award, A Book Without Photographs showcases the talents of one of the country’s brightest lights; a key player in a generation at the forefront of change in contemporary Russia.
“In my opinion, this is Sergey Shargunov’s strongest work. For the first time he is absolutely straight with us and with himself, and free from affectation. The book is written with love and without mercy – for both his native land, and his own talent; that is the stuff of great literature.” – Dmitry Bykov, famous Russian writer
About Sergei Shargunov: A writer, journalist and political activist, Sergei Shargunov was born in 1980 into the family of a Russian Orthodox priest. He studied journalism at Moscow State University, and since then has reported from different locations including Chechnya and South Ossetia, earning a reputation as a writer with a social conscience who has covered some of the most significant events in recent Russian history. He has worked for different periodicals, often heading his own literary projects, and since 2000 has worked for New World magazine as a literary critic and as an author of fiction. In 2012, Shargunov spearheaded the launch of opposition news website Svobodnaya Pressa (‘Free Press’) together with fellow writer Zakhar Prilepin, and remains its chief editor. He has been a finalist in the National Bestseller Awards and the recipient of a Debut award for literature and a Moscow National Award for Art and Literature.