Vladimir Sorokin: Теллурия (Telluria)

The latest addition to my website is Vladimir Sorokin‘s Теллурия (Telluria). This novel is set in a future where Russia and Europe have splintered into smaller states and seem to have been recently fighting a Christianity-Islam war which the Christians have won. The story is told in fifty vignettes, recounting the current siltation and the past, and we get a mixture of quasi-mediaeval tales, futuristic ones and those outlining what is going on. The key is tellurium, the drug of choice, found only in the microstate of Telluria in the Altai mountains (ruled by a Frenchman!). This is sold (usually illegally) in the form of nails which have to be hammered into the user’s head by a skilled carpenter (with the inevitable risk of death) and which people eagerly try to get hold of. Above all, Sorokin tells a mixture of stories about this world, what it looks likes and how it got to be be what it has become and gives us only a passing nod to Putin.

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