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Igor Miroshnichenko (born 12 March, 1977 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia) is an English-language writer, novelist, and essayist; he writes under the pen name Igor Eliseev, his mother’s maiden name.
Igor Eliseev began his literary activity in 1999 with a number of short stories, essays and a film script. Later, the plot of the script developed into a literary novel – the most important project of his life and one that has not yet been completed. In 2015, however, he finished his second novel, which, by a twist of fate, became his debut novel. One-Two, a book that is dedicated to the memory of his mother, tells the story of two conjoined sisters born in the era of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Two conjoined babies are born at the intersection of two social worldviews. The girls are named Faith and Hope. After spending their childhood in a foster home and obtaining a basic education, they come to realise that they are different from other people in many respects. The problems of their upbringing are only made worse by the constant humiliations they suffer at the hands of society. Eventually, fortune smiles on them, by seemingly opening up the door to happiness: a separation surgery that can theoretically be performed in the capital. Thus begins a journey fraught with difficulties and obstacles for the sisters. Will they be able to get past the wall of public cynicism, together with the internal conflicts they have among themselves? Will they find a justification for their existence and learn to accept it? The search for the answers to these and many other questions constitutes the essence of this novel.
An exquisite novel of literary daring and an utterly convincing representation of the conjoined state, One-Two proves an exceptional read. One could list many reasons why but the most important is that it gives readers a powerful and complete picture of what it would be like to be Faith or Hope. In the hands of a lesser author, it could have easily become a bizarre, sentimental or contrived story but Eliseev gives us something which is utterly absorbing and yet surprisingly light on sentiment. His prose is wonderfully crafted, sophisticated, and heartfelt and yet he never shies away from acknowledging our natural fascination with their abnormalities. We can imagine their lifetime of isolation from the normal things people do and on this level we find ourselves forgetting about plot and conflict which leaves us more open to the tone Eliseev sets. Tender and sad yet still room for a little levity as he probes the psyches of his characters. He means to shake us and in doing so reveals unexpected and powerfully poignant layers to leave us deep in reflection.
Beautifully written, extraordinarily powerful, One-Two proves a rare gem of a read and is recommended without reservation.
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