*A NEW STATESMANBOOK OF THE YEAR 2016*
It is a time of plague and pestilence, and a young healer, skilled in the art of herbs and remedies, finds himself overcome with grief and guilt when he fails to save the one he holds closest to his heart. Leaving behind his village, his possessions and his name, he sets out on a quest for redemption, penniless and alone. But this is no ordinary journey: wandering across plague-ridden Europe, offering his healing powers to all in need, he travels through ages and countries, encountering a rich tapestry of wayfarers along the way. Accosted by highwaymen, lynched in Yugoslavia and washed overboard at sea, he eventually reaches Jerusalem, only to find his greatest challenge is yet to come.
Winner of two of the biggest literary prizes in Russia, Laurus is a remarkably rich novel about the eternal themes of love, loss, self-sacrifice and faith, from one of the country's most experimental and critically acclaimed novelists.
Eugene Vodolazkin was born in Kiev and has worked in the department of Old Russian Literature at Pushkin House since 1990. He is an expert in medieval Russian history and folklore. His debut novel Solovyov and Larionov (Oneworld, 2018) was shortlisted for the Andrei Bely Prize and Russia's National Big Book Award. Laurus, his second novel but the first to be translated into English, won the National Big Book Award and the Yasnaya Polyana Award and was shortlisted for the National Bestseller Prize, the Russian Booker Prize and the New Literature Award, and has been translated into eighteen languages. He lives in St Petersburg. Lisa C. Hayden's translations from the Russian include Eugene Vodolazkin's Laurus, which won the Read Russia Award in 2016 and was also shortlisted for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize along with her translation of Vadim Levental's Masha Regina. Her blog, Lizok's Bookshelf, examines contemporary Russian fiction. She lives in Maine, USA.