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Vita Nostra: A Novel

Vita Nostra: A Novel


Vita Nostra: A Novel

valutazioni:
4.5/5 (37 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
18 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Nov 13, 2018
ISBN:
9780062876348
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

The definitive English language translation of the internationally bestselling Russian novel—a brilliant dark fantasy with "the potential to be a modern classic" (Lev Grossman), combining psychological suspense, enchantment, and terror that makes us consider human existence in a fresh and provocative way.

Our life is brief . . .

While vacationing at the beach with her mother, Sasha Samokhina meets the mysterious Farit Kozhennikov under the most peculiar circumstances. The teenage girl is powerless to refuse when this strange and unusual man with an air of the sinister directs her to perform a task with potentially scandalous consequences. He rewards her effort with a strange golden coin.

As the days progress, Sasha carries out other acts for which she receives more coins from Kozhennikov. As summer ends, her domineering mentor directs her to move to a remote village and use her gold to enter the Institute of Special Technologies. Though she does not want to go to this unknown town or school, she also feels it's the only place she should be. Against her mother's wishes, Sasha leaves behind all that is familiar and begins her education.

As she quickly discovers, the institute's "special technologies" are unlike anything she has ever encountered. The books are impossible to read, the lessons obscure to the point of maddening, and the work refuses memorization. Using terror and coercion to keep the students in line, the school does not punish them for their transgressions and failures; instead, their families pay a terrible price. Yet despite her fear, Sasha undergoes changes that defy the dictates of matter and time; experiences which are nothing she has ever dreamed of . . . and suddenly all she could ever want.

A complex blend of adventure, magic, science, and philosophy that probes the mysteries of existence, filtered through a distinct Russian sensibility, this astonishing work of speculative fiction—brilliantly translated by Julia Meitov Hersey—is reminiscent of modern classics such as Lev Grossman's The Magicians, Max Barry's Lexicon, and Katherine Arden's The Bear and the Nightingale, but will transport them to a place far beyond those fantastical worlds.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Nov 13, 2018
ISBN:
9780062876348
Formato:
Audiolibro


Informazioni sull'autore

SERGEY AND MARINA DYACHENKO have received numerous prestigious literary awards for their novels and short stories. They were honored as the European Science Fiction Society’s Best Writers of Europe at Eurocon 2005. They are the authors of The Scar. Marina and Sergey are married and live in Kiev.


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4.5
37 valutazioni / 7 Recensioni
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (5/5)
    An intriguing read.Quite different from run of the mill magic schools.Really scary as well.Sasha is a young girl just about to get out of school who gets approached by a dark and mysterious man threatening her with dire consequences if she doesn't do certain things.She then has to join a school which trains her in a completely different way using fear as a primary motivator. Eventually the incomprehensible becomes comprehensible. The consequences of which are dire.Then a metamorphosis happens.This book is very smart and ideally you would read it slowly to get a grasp on what is happening but the character arc is so interesting that I ended up going really really fast. I will probably have to reread this to grasp it fully.
  • (4/5)
    The sleeve says it's this book is like a more sinister, more dark Harry Potter story. Well... it's partly true but the only similarity is the basic plot. A young girl became the student of a mysterious university. The lectures have no sense, the teachers are sometimes rude and harsh, but... there's something magical about it. Interesting book with a little predictable ending.
  • (2/5)
    I struggled to finish this book. It was like grasping sand, the content shifting and falling and defying definition or shape. The sensation of trying anyway was fun, and I love when books treat the reader as smart enough to deal with complexities. Unfortunately, the plot itself was awful. The book was filled with abusive behavior, stilted relationships, and circular events. I didn't care at all about any of the characters, and paper-thin personalities couldn't support a suspension of disbelief. (I also hated a lot about The Magicians and the fact that Lev Grossman endorsed it should have warned me this would be full of terribleness.)
  • (5/5)
    Hands down the best book I’ve ever read. Read this one.
  • (4/5)
    I'm not the first person to compare this to Harry Potter in the sense that it follows someone chosen to attend a school for magic over the course of their study. It does however put the "contrast" into "compare and contrast", in the sense that neither the protagonist nor any other student wants to be there; they've in fact been strongly coerced to be there; if they refuse or fail in their studies Bad Things happen to their loved ones; and their studies are not only nonsensical but once they start making sense of them in the desperate course of not failing, bad things happen to their brains and eventually bodies.It's a compulsively horrifying read.[spoiler?] I'm also not the first person to say "WTF" about the ending. I'm not allergic to religious allegory in my fiction by any means - but this was in no way a religious novel until the last five lines. Until those last five lines the ending was actually reasonable, if slightly abrupt and obscure (but you'd expect obscurity at least from where the plot's taken us, and for the same reason we can't really expect much of a post-climactic ease-down) so I'm just going to headcanon that those lines are there purely as literary reference for the sense of what she's doing, rather than a literal explanation that would be a complete and utter curveball. [/spoiler]
  • (3/5)
    This review has been so hard to write. I'm not entirely sure if it will make sense to someone who hasn't read the book. I am making an attempt anyway.At it's heart Vita Nostra is a story about that period of time of the early transition to adulthood, that 17-20ish age range, and just how terrifying that time truly is. All while being wrapped in a speculative fiction story about metaphysics. Never before have I felt a book's description has left me unprepared for what I was about to read. Yes, Sasha is chosen to attend a special school after completing some bizarre tasks for a mysterious stranger. And yes, that school could be considered magical if looked at a certain way. A Slavic Harry Potter this is not. I have been told a closer comparison is The Magicians though I have not read those books so couldn't say for sure. Vita Nostra is easily one of the strangest reads I've experienced in a long time. The plot is deceptively simple. It doesn't follow standard story writing at all. There is no antagonist, no conflict as such, characters are semi-cardboard, there is a heavy undercurrent of fear and terror throughout. In any other book this would have seriously bothered me and yet here it is fascinating, engaging and makes for an almost compulsive read. Even with a slow pace I kept finding myself turning pages long after I should've turned out my light each night. It is a deeply philosophical read, heavy on the existentialism, and utterly brilliant.For most of the book we are just as confused and in the dark about what's going on as Sasha is and we discover it right along with her. Once enlightenment is achieved, things get really weird! Metamorphosis is necessary. The ending is deliberately left open to interpretation.I could see this as a love it or hate it book depending on how much you enjoy a Kafkaesque style. It also appears to be the start of a series. Based on Google translate of the summaries of the other books, the rest of the series seems to be completely unrelated and are not yet translated to English. This reads well enough as a stand alone.So why three stars? I rate books on the enjoyment of my reading experience. Given the current state of the world and the underlying terror inherent in Sasha's story the book tended to trigger the generalized anxiety I have at the moment. I think I'd like to reread this again in a couple years and see how I do.
  • (5/5)
    4.75 - 5.0

    First off, let me start off by saying that If you are reading this because it has been marketed to you as Harry Potter for Adults, and you are hoping to find an adult fantasy world brimming with magic, then you may want to pick up "The Magicians." There is a school, there are professors, there is something beyond the scope of our physical reality going on...and that is about all that this book and HP have in common.

    This book defies genre. It is esoteric in nature, it has philosophical leanings, and it is like nothing I have ever read before. The students in this school aren't getting up to hi-jinx trying to learn magic. They are undergoing a grueling transformation from human form to one more conceptual. That is about as much as I can say without spoiling it. What I can say is I ingested this book in just 3 days and that was because I have a job and responsibilities which made me have to FORCE myself to put it down. This is definitely a new favorite. Now...


    ***Spoiler-y bits***

    I loved the very idea of humans transcending their shell and shaking their humanity to become hypertext as grammatical and graphical concepts. Words in action or explanation, creating and modifying reality in an almost Godlike way. The author did an amazing job building these characters. I felt the pressure and the relief Sasha felt as she tried desperate to unfold the layers of reality and ultimately shake their human form. I felt her struggle of fighting her fear and trying to contain her desire to be. I loved the entire process of the students struggle in becoming nouns, pronouns, verbs and adjectives. Becoming action in being, and literal creation. I don't know how to describe this other than the philosophy behind linguistics being actualized. Still, I don't know if I have used the correct "words" to summarize it. I guess I can use something familiar to most. The Creation Story from the Christian Religion. God speaking things into place. God saying to Moses, "I am the Great I am."