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2017 - Shortlisted
The Memory Artist begins when Pasha, a young Russian writer, hears of his mother’s death. In a state of grieving, Pasha travels to the country but his attempts to write are thwarted as questions about his past begin to haunt him. With the death of his mother as a catalyst, Pasha finally confronts his childhood memories of Brezhnev’s oppressive rule over the Soviet Union, and takes us on a journey from Moscow to St Petersburg and then to Leningrad.
The Memory Artist traces Pasha’s search not only for truth, but also for reconciliation. The lyrical language is a welcome contrast to the novel’s stark subject matter. The narrative raises questions about the unreliability of memory and the seemingly insurmountable challenges of dealing with collective trauma. Ultimately, however, this is a story about redemption, hope and the possibility of new life. In this, her first novel, Katherine Brabon has created an impressive work.