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Extended Audio Sample Oblivion Audiobook, by Sergei Lebedev Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sergei Lebedev Narrator: Daniel Gamburg Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2016 ISBN: 9781504699723
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This masterful novel represents an epic literary attempt to examine a very troubled Russia.

In one of the first twenty-first century Russian novels to probe the legacy of the Soviet prison-camp system, a young man travels to the vast wastelands of the Far North to uncover the truth about a shadowy neighbor who saved his life and whom he knows only as Grandfather II. What he finds, among the forgotten mines and decrepit barracks of former gulags, is a world relegated to oblivion, where it is easier to ignore both the victims and the executioners than to come to terms with a terrible past.

This disturbing tale evokes the great and ruined beauty of a land where man and machine worked in tandem with nature to destroy millions of lives during the Soviet century. Emerging from today’s Russia, where the ills of the past are being forcefully erased from public memory, this masterful novel represents an epic literary attempt to rescue history from the brink of oblivion.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A Dantean descent…In a steely translation by Antonina W. Bouis, Oblivion is as cold and stark as a glacial crevasse, but as beautiful as one, too, with a clear poetic sensibility built to stand against the forces of erasure.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Sergei Lebedev opens up new territory in literature. Lebedev’s prose lives from the precise images and the author’s colossal gift of observation.”

    Der Speigel

  • “The beauty of the language is almost impossible to bear.”

    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Frankfurt)

  • “A monomaniacal meditation on memory and forgetting…Lebedev’s magnificent novel has the potency to become a mirror and a wake-up call to a Russia that is blind to history.”

    Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Zurich)

  • “Opening in stately fashion and unfolding ever faster with fierce, intensive elegance, this first novel discloses the weight of Soviet history and its consequences…The language is precise yet lyrical, with much revealed through dreams, as if the Soviet reality were otherwise too awful to touch. Verdict: Highly recommended for anyone serious about literature or history.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “By placing us in inhumanity’s long, shiver-inducing shadow and opening a fresh window on the state’s efforts to wipe the gulag era from history, Lebedev takes his place beside Solzhenitsyn and other great writers who have refused to abide by silence. Lebedev’s courageous and devastating first novel…applies modern insight and poetic force to atrocities past and to his country’s unspoken campaign to remove them from history.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “The determination of Kulak laborers, the desperation of a fugitive prisoner, the desolation of an empty library, the tragedy of a boy and his whistle, are among the many images capturing the impoverished state of the land, the people, and the national spirit, left by an unjust and undeniable part of Russian history.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “An important book about where Russia is today, with poetic descriptions and unforgettable images evoking that nation’s often elusive attempts to understand its dark past. I stand in awe of both the author and translator.”

    Jack F. Matlock Jr., former US ambassador to the Soviet Union

  • “An extraordinary book that takes readers across Russia’s desolate northern landscape and turns up secrets about the terrible legacy of the Soviet gulags, described through evocative, often poetic portraits of people and places.”

    Celestine Bohlen, International New York Times columnist and former Moscow correspondent for the New York Times

  • “Extraordinarily intense and beautifully written…Oblivion haunts this novel. By writing it, Lebedev has given the past a present and a presence.”

    Judy Dempsey, senior associate at Carnegie Europe and editor-in-chief of Strategic Europe

  • “With Oblivion, Lebedev is asking us to remember a part of Russia’s history that some would like to erase: the Soviet prison camp system. Here we are faced with difficult questions of memory and forgiveness, and the necessity of remembering the past.”


  • “Pushes poetic language to the edge…astonishing…This book’s quiet anger is well-timed.”


  • A Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2016
  • Finalist for the 2017 Best Translated Book Award
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About the Author

Sergei Lebedev was born in Moscow in 1981 and worked for seven years on geological expeditions in northern Russia and Central Asia. He is a poet, essayist, and journalist, and one of Russia’s most lauded young writers. Oblivion, his first novel, has been translated into many languages and was published in English in 2016 to great acclaim.