Book Review: Mitja Vachedin ‘Angels speak Russian’

November 21, 2017

Mitja Vachedin was born in 1982 in today’s St Petersburg. He spent the first twenty years of his life in communist, and then the following capitalist Russia, until he moved to Germany where he went on to study political science, Slavic studies and script writing.

‘Angels speak Russian is his debut novel in the German language.

Mitja has great talent for both prose and script writing. As soon as the novel begins, one feels immediately projected into the novel’s mise en scène as well as in the poetry conjured through the thoughts and feelings of the protagonist.

I especially love the mixture of humor and tragedy, a mixture which reminds me of a number of Kusturica movies. For me, it’s typically East European literary form where one can’t quite figure out the source the tear welling in the corner of your eye is actually coming from: happiness or sadness, or perhaps both?

Another polarity present is Mitja’s continuous oscillation between the Eastern and the Western world. Very understandable for me as a German with East European origins, until I myself decided to be part of the one and the other simultaneously.

The book left me with a sensation of melancholy. Not as a negative mood, but rather a beautiful sense of emotional depth, just as deep as the Russian snow in front of Mitja’s Babuschka house.


*Text written by guest author Anna Fudala.
** Photo by Bea Grundheber.

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