THE SKY A HUNDRED YEARS AGO
- Longlist of the German Book Prize 2021.
- “Powerful. An entirely unique voice. A world as described by Chekhov and yet narrated like a fast-paced, rough and ready film from Berlin-Mitte.” - Florian Illies
- Past times – up close and in glorious colour: a timeless story and an outstanding debut.
- Recommended by New Books in German.
- English sample translation available.
A Russian village around 1918. The revolution has already taken place, the civil war is well underway, but the villagers are not yet aware of the historic events. The declining tsardom is vast, information flows slowly, but even in a place like this, time does not stand still: the village elder, Ilya, for example, recently started making his weather forecasts with the help of glass tube that he cherishes like life itself. Old Pyotr, on the other hand, prefers to heed the nearby river and its spirits. But for the time being, the fronts are not yet hardened.
It so happens that Inna Nikolaevna, Ilya’s wife, is just as superstitious as Pyotr. When she drops a knife in the kitchen, a stranger appears in the village. The young man, who is much too young and not wearing any boots, just a shabby officer’s uniform, and when pressed, he recounts a different story every time. The villagers eye him suspiciously, hassle him, after a while not just with questions – and yet not even young Annushka can figure out why he came to the village. And above all: why he stays.
Whether she is writing about the weather, wisdom or fish – Yulia Marfutova makes voices audible that you won’t soon forget. In The Sky a Hundred Years Ago, ideas and ideologues, village and world, past and present, humour and reason all come together.