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Vita Nostra: A Novel af Sergey and Marina…
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Vita Nostra: A Novel (original 2007; udgave 2021)

af Sergey and Marina Dyachenko (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4292645,957 (3.9)8
"While vacationing at the beach with her mother, Sasha Samokhina meets the mysterious Farit Kozhennikov under the most peculiar circumstances. The teenage girl is powerless to refuse when this strange and unusual man with an air of the sinister directs her to perform a task with potentially scandalous consequences. He rewards her effort with a strange golden coin. As the days progress, Sasha carries out other acts for which she receives more coins from Kozhennikov. As summer ends, her domineering mentor directs her to move to a remote village and use her gold to enter the Institute of Special Technologies. Though she does not want to go to this unknown town or school, she also feels it's the only place she should be. Against her mother's wishes, Sasha leaves behind all that is familiar and begins her education. As she quickly discovers, the institute's "special technologies" are unlike anything she has ever encountered. The books are impossible to read, the lessons obscure to the point of maddening, and the work refuses memorization. Using terror and coercion to keep the students in line, the school does not punish them for their transgressions and failures; instead, their families pay a terrible price. Yet despite her fear, Sasha undergoes changes that defy the dictates of matter and time; experiences which are nothing she has ever dreamed of ... and suddenly all she could ever want"--Front jacket flap.Vacationing at the beach with her mother, Sasha Samokhina falls under the spell of Farit Kozhennikov. An unusual man with an air of the sinister, he directs her to perform tasks with potentially scandalous consequences and rewards her with strange golden coins. He then directs her to move to a remote village and use her gold to enter the Institute of Special Technologies. Sasha quickly discovers the institute's books are impossible to read, the lessons obscure to the point of maddening, and the work refuses memorization. The school does not punish students for their transgressions and failures-- instead their families pay a terrible price. -- adapted from jacket.… (mere)
Medlem:li3an
Titel:Vita Nostra: A Novel
Forfattere:Sergey and Marina Dyachenko (Forfatter)
Info:Harper Voyager (2021), Edition: Reprint, 416 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

Work Information

Vita Nostra af Sergey Dyachenko (Author) (2007)

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» Se også 8 omtaler

Engelsk (24)  Russisk (1)  Ungarsk (1)  Alle sprog (26)
Viser 1-5 af 26 (næste | vis alle)
I liked it tentatively. The prose was all the time interesting, beautiful at points, and strange at others. The plot was amorphous and the ending only an ending to a part. There was a lot going on and not all of it was wrapped up. ( )
  iewi | Apr 26, 2021 |
Great writing. Very bizzare fantasy. Moving ending. ( )
  kakadoo202 | Apr 11, 2021 |
Vita Nostra was first published in Ukraine in 2007, in the original Russian. After garnering prizes and a cult following, this novel by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko is now being published by HarperCollins in an English translation by Julia Meitov Hersey. It has been compared to «The Magicians» by Lev Grossman, who has claimed that Vita Nostra «has become a powerful influence» on his own writing. A Goodreads reviewer describes it as «Harry Potter, were it written by Lev Tolstoy». It’s a helpful analogy, but one which does not really prepare you for the novel’s enthralling weirdness.

It starts out like a slice of post-Soviet realism, with Sasha Samokhina, the 16-year old protagonist, vacationing at a rather sordid resort with her (single) mother. Sasha notices that she is being stalked by a stranger, whom she cannot avoid, however hard she tries. Things soon take a turn for the bizarre. When Sasha finally speaks to the stranger, he sets her awkward challenges which border on the abusive, and test her physical and psychological endurance to the limit. The price for failing is high – one near-miss brings about nearly fatal consequences for the persons closest to Sasha. It turns out all these rather disturbing goings-on are a prelude to Sasha being called to join the mysterious «Institute of Special Technologies». Potterheads will be disappointed to learn that this is no Russian Hogwarts. It is situated in the nondescript provincial town of Torpa; its more advanced students seem deranged or crippled; its lecturers are threatening; its curriculum, and particularly the dreaded «Specialty» lecture, seems maddeningly – and pointlessly - difficult. And there’s a clear sense that failure is simply not an option. Throughout the novel, Sasha considers not entering the Institute and, eventually, escaping from there. But can she ever bring herself to do that when it would put her life and her family in mortal danger? The atmosphere of dread never lifts – and it is accentuated by the fact that for most of the book, neither Sasha nor the readers are really aware what the course is all about, what its aims are and what it will all lead to. Like the protagonist, we are kept in the dark and slowly discover (part of ) the truth with her.

These gradual revelations makes Vita Nostra eminently readable, despite the fact that its plot is not really spectacular and often built on abstruse concepts. At one level, it can be enjoyed as a coming-of-age or college novel, one in which Sasha Samokhina experiences love and grows into an independent adult. At the same time, the fantastical elements give it an added dimension, making us wonder what the heck is going on at the Institute. By the end of the book, we notice that the novel has prodded us into considering weighty philosophical concepts, such as fate and free will – do we really have choices, or are these set by others, or by our own fears and limitations?

This was one of the most mind-boggling, unusual and memorable books read this year – and probably the one with the most striking cover. If I chop off a couple of stars from my rating it is because I found the language used rather awkward – I can’t say whether it’s the translation or a quirk of the original, but I felt that the shifts from colloquial to a more high-flying style were clunky and unconvincing. But this is, ultimately, a novel one reads for its baffling ideas – I recommend it precisely for being so strange.

Read more at http://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/2018/12/bad-education-vita-nostra-by-marina-an... ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Mar 5, 2021 |
Read it in Russian language. Several years ago in fact. It was an audiobook to be presise. Very unique and atmospheric piece. Highly recommend. I don't see any connections with Harry Potter though. As for it to be Kafkaesque - completely agree. ( )
  anandadavananda | Dec 15, 2020 |
eerie and compelling person or word ( )
  Saraishelafs | Nov 4, 2020 |
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» Tilføj andre forfattere (2 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Dyachenko, SergeyForfatterprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Dyachenko, MarinaForfatterhovedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Hersey, Julia MeitovOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Weisz, GyörgyiOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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"While vacationing at the beach with her mother, Sasha Samokhina meets the mysterious Farit Kozhennikov under the most peculiar circumstances. The teenage girl is powerless to refuse when this strange and unusual man with an air of the sinister directs her to perform a task with potentially scandalous consequences. He rewards her effort with a strange golden coin. As the days progress, Sasha carries out other acts for which she receives more coins from Kozhennikov. As summer ends, her domineering mentor directs her to move to a remote village and use her gold to enter the Institute of Special Technologies. Though she does not want to go to this unknown town or school, she also feels it's the only place she should be. Against her mother's wishes, Sasha leaves behind all that is familiar and begins her education. As she quickly discovers, the institute's "special technologies" are unlike anything she has ever encountered. The books are impossible to read, the lessons obscure to the point of maddening, and the work refuses memorization. Using terror and coercion to keep the students in line, the school does not punish them for their transgressions and failures; instead, their families pay a terrible price. Yet despite her fear, Sasha undergoes changes that defy the dictates of matter and time; experiences which are nothing she has ever dreamed of ... and suddenly all she could ever want"--Front jacket flap.Vacationing at the beach with her mother, Sasha Samokhina falls under the spell of Farit Kozhennikov. An unusual man with an air of the sinister, he directs her to perform tasks with potentially scandalous consequences and rewards her with strange golden coins. He then directs her to move to a remote village and use her gold to enter the Institute of Special Technologies. Sasha quickly discovers the institute's books are impossible to read, the lessons obscure to the point of maddening, and the work refuses memorization. The school does not punish students for their transgressions and failures-- instead their families pay a terrible price. -- adapted from jacket.

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