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Haunting, terrifying and hilarious, The Day of the Oprichnik is a dazzling novel and a fierce critique of life in the New Russia
Moscow 2028: Andrei Danilovich Komiaga, oprichnik, member of the czar's inner circle of trusted courtiers, rouses himself from a drunken stupor and prepares for another day of debauchery, violence, terror and beauty. In this New Russia, futuristic technology combine with the draconian world of Ivan the Terrible to create a dystopia chillingly akin to reality. Over the twenty-four-hour span of the novel, Komiaga will rape, pillage and torture, in the name of the czar he fears and adores. Shimmering with invention, fierce social commentary and razor-sharp wit, Day of the Oprichnik imagines a near future too disturbing to contemplate and too close to reality to ignore.
Even with gang rape; drugs in the form of intravenous fish; and a homosexual, Viagra-induced orgy with organs "refurbished" by the Chinese, the latest from the bad boy of contemporary Russian literature feels hollow. Set in a Russia two decades in the future, this sardonic day-in-the-life follows "oprichnik" Andrei Danilovich as he fulfills his duties as a henchman for the restored Russian empire. In due time he'll lead an assault on the mansion of an aristocrat who has run afoul of His Majesty, do illicit drugs with his cohorts, head out to a huge transport artery from China to Europe to shake down some foreigners, and finally meet Her Highness for cocktails in the palace bathroom. Though Sorokin is capable as usual in filling his fictitious Russia with satirical touches and buckets of grotesque humor, neither Andrei nor his peers ever develop into anything more than Clockwork Orange knockoffs, and Sorokin's political critique reads stale.