From the first pages it becomes apparent that Asystole is a novel about love of life in its purest, instinctive and intimate form. It’s also a novel about human faith in its existence and a desire to experience this love. Author Oleg Pavlov places his character – a boy who grows to be a man and is clearly personified by the writer’s own outlook on life – in impossible and familiar circumstances, impossible not to relate to.
An adult is shaped in childhood. Chaotic, anxious and at the same time withdrawn narration seems to have no direction and no resolution. Except that the life of the people, who are in fact children of a broken destiny, is real and not much needs to be said to make it our own. Laconic and ‘to the point’ observations of Pavlov’s protagonist as he goes, are chilling at times. They pierce through flesh right to the bone – the quality only the naked truth can have.
Asystole is moreover about the by-stander effect, about a disconnected and malfunctioning society and a struggle of one not to merge into the faceless mass of many. Modern, deeply thought through and heartfelt, this novel is an examination of the physics of human soul. Pavlov’s Universe has a special arrangement – if it was up to him, humans wouldn’t be allowed in it, for the privilege of being human requires living up to the title.
Published with the support of the Institute for Literary Translation, Russia