Kurkov_Andrey_Grey-Bees
2022 Longlist

Grey Bees

Translated from the Russian by Boris Dralyuk
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ABOUT
THE BOOK

Little Starhorodivka, a village of three streets, lies in Ukraine’s Grey Zone, the no-man’s-land between loyalist and separatist forces. Thanks to the lukewarm war of sporadic violence and constant propaganda that has been dragging on for years, only two residents remain: retired safety inspector turned beekeeper Sergey Sergeyich and Pashka, a “frenemy” from his schooldays.

With little food and no electricity, under ever-present threat of bombardment, Sergeyich’s one remaining pleasure is his bees. As spring approaches, he knows he must take them far from the Grey Zone so they can collect their pollen in peace. This simple mission on their behalf introduces him to combatants and civilians on both sides of the battle lines: loyalists, separatists, Russian occupiers and Crimean Tatars. Wherever he goes, Sergeyich’s childlike simplicity and strong moral compass disarm everyone he meets.

Grey Bees is as timely as the author’s Ukraine Diaries were in 2014, but treats the unfolding crisis in a more imaginative way, with a pinch of Kurkov’s signature humour. Who better than Ukraine’s most famous novelist to illuminate and present a balanced portrait of this most bewildering of modern conflicts.

 

 

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Andrey
Kurkov

Andrey Kurkov, journalist, prison warder, cameraman and screenplay-writer and novelist, sold more than 75,000 copies of his self- published books in a single year. His novel Death and the Penguin, his first in English translation, became an international bestseller, translated into more than thirty languages. Born near Leningrad in 1961, Kurkov lives in Kiev with his family.

Andrey Kurkov, journalist, prison warder, cameraman and screenplay-writer and novelist, sold more than 75,000 copies of his self- published books in a single year. His novel Death and the Penguin, his first in English translation, became an international bestseller, translated into more than thirty languages. Born near Leningrad in 1961, Kurkov lives in Kiev with his family.

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Boris
Dralyuk

Boris Dralyuk ,award-winning translator and Executive Editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books has translated Isaac Babel’s Red Cavalry and Odessa Stories, as well as Kurkov’s The Bickford Fuse. In 2020 he received the inaugural Kukula Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Book Reviewing from the Washington Monthly.
Boris Dralyuk ,award-winning translator and Executive Editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books has translated Isaac Babel’s Red Cavalry and Odessa Stories, as well as Kurkov’s The Bickford Fuse. In 2020 he received the inaugural Kukula Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Book Reviewing from the Washington Monthly.

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

“The novel “Grey Bees” is unusual for Andriy Kurkov, perhaps the most popular Ukrainian writer in Western Europe. … And there is no electricity, and for several years …Andrey Kurkov: I did not plan to write about the current war and what is connected with it. But in recent years, many migrants and refugees from Donbass, and in Kyiv in particular, have appeared in Ukraine. And one acquaintance told me that he travels every month to the “gray zone” between the two fronts, to a village where only a few people remain. He brings them money and food, and they do conservation for him, do spins … And thus he helps them survive: he brings these spins to Kyiv, gives them to a cafe, which also belongs to the settlers … I was touched by this story. I myself went several times to the war zone and the surrounding areas and, we can say, was a little absorbed in this atmosphere, the strange life of the “gray zone”, which I saw and felt there. There was a desire to tell about people who were forgotten, who chose this way, such a fate.”

Odesa National Scientific Library, Ukraine

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
05/08/2021
Country
Ukraine
Original Language
Russian
Author
Publisher
MacLehose Press, Quercus Publishing
Translator
Boris Dralyuk
Translation
Translated from the Russian by Boris Dralyuk

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