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Posts Tagged ‘Ilya Kochergin’

I am reading a book called ‘Rasskazy : New Fiction from a New Russia‘. It is a collection of short stories by some of today’s Russian writers. I found some of the passages in a story called ‘A Potential Customer’ by Ilya Kochergin very beautiful and so thought I will post them here. Hope you enjoy reading them 🙂

An image, hazy as it was, stood clearly before my eyes, I couldn’t forget it – a girl slowly dancing and smiling to herself. The dim vision of her bore a resemblance to my winter dream in the taiga, where the heavy snowy silence presses on your ears, where fatigue and frost give birth in your lightly sleeping brain to vanishing women with slow movements and loving eyes.

I stood outside our house, opposite Repin Square, smoked a cigarette, expelled the smoke through my nose onto my moustache. A man from the taiga stood there, squinting. I was prepared to be noticed, my plans had allowed for it as an integral part of my vacation, but Moscow sailed past. Sailed in vivid flashes, perfumed scents, the grunt of gear changes, grimy pigeons.
Around fifteen minutes passed. The second cigarette in a row with no special desire to smoke, and the depressing suspicion crept in that this time, as if out of spite, everything would be just as it had been a thousand times before – the very first evening, which had promised so much, would be spent with a book on the sofa. The second, too, and the tenth. My native city would not recognize me, maybe a cop would come up and ask for my papers – nothing more. It happens every time, but I just can’t get used to it. From afar it beckons, teases, but as soon as you arrive – you’re a distant uninvited relative from the countryside.

I read that each of us sits out our whole life in a bubble with walls of mirror and whatever we look, we see only ourselves, in other words, our reflection. You look, for example, at a bear and see not a bear but a wild beast that could kill you, you look at a pretty young girl and think how nice it would be to get between her legs. You don’t see them, it’s more like you see yourself, on top of the girl or under the bear. So everything gets measured against yourself. Here Mama will once again see not me, but her dear little child, and everything will fall into place.

For a man who works in the wilderness and delights in living without family and boxes it feels awkward to tell of the beauty, the pine scent and romance of Siberia. But tell someone he must, someone must hear me. I must tell others of my life, in order to see my reflection in their pupils.

I thought about how love forces a person to climb out of his mirror bubble and look at the world without any ulterior motives, just look and see. Otherwise it would be terrible, otherwise we would just hang there in space, in our bubbles, and not even see each other. These bubbles were like balls on a Christmas tree, which are, as it happens, mirrored on the inside, and whoever was sitting inside didn’t even realize that outside there was a celebration.

– From ‘A Potential Customer’ by Ilya Kochergin
(From the collection ‘Rasskazy : New Fiction from a New Russia’ edited by Mikhail Iossel and Jeff Parker

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