" Les âmes rouges "
- Winner : The Discovery Grant 2016
« Moscow, U.R.S.S. Culture is regimented to serve the State. Vladimir Katouchkov and Pavel Golchenko, about twenty, meet one evening incidentally. The first is censor within GlavLit, who gives a ruling on all what appears in the country. The second is projectionist in Goskino, cinema of the officials of the Party. Two institutions where are every day forbidden, cut, enslave the writings of a new generation of writers and of film-makers who tries to bloom since the death of Stalin. Vladimir Katouchkov, sickened by the system, decides to report hypocrisy. At his risks and dangers. And soon to the detriment of those who encircle him. Les âmes rouges is an homage novel to the most independent Soviet artists and to chefs d’oeuvre which were called dissidence. It is also an ode in friendship: the one who links, across tests and years, Russian Vladimir Katouchkov and Ukrainian Pavel Golchenko.»
- presentation of the editor
« When “Le meilleur des mondes” was published in France, he counted 284 pages. When it appeared in U.R.S.S., the futuristic novel of Aldous Huxley did not have of more than 28. Somebody had passed there, and scissors were his job. But what could he resemble, this job? The answer is in “Les âmes rouges”, first tremendous novel put under the auspices of Gogol, which opens with the death of Stalin and visits again half a century of Soviet history by telling the life of a censor in the Department for Literature and Publication - so known under the acronym of GlavLit. Everything, here, is interesting, starting with this civil servant who is at the same time a sacred reader, a nice bastard and a brave type.»
- Gregory Leménager, L’obs, February 9th, 2016