“A remarkable novel” of a post-Communist Russia filled with gangsters and oligarchs, and one man’s shady business deal that could land him in a world of trouble (The Boston Globe).
Part speculative fiction, part satire, Let’s Put the Future Behind Us is a romp through 1990s Russia, as the closed society of the Soviet Union morphs into a modern capitalist free-for-all and Max Borodin finds himself, his wife, and his mistress in mortal danger—in “a world of petty bureaucrats, shameless opportunists, and full-blown mafiosi” (Entertainment Weekly).
“An absurdist thriller narrated by one Max Borodin, an ex-Communist Party hack who has re-invented himself as a commercial operator with a cynical understanding of how to manipulate the strings of power. Cops are paid off with dollar bills, bureaucrats with phoney documents and racketeers with the consumer opiates of their choice. Max is always up for the main chance, and before long finds himself logged into a drug deal involving psychotic Georgian gangsters, corrupt local entrepreneurs, the investors in a leaky crematorium and a messianic fascist demagogue who wants to build a plastic dome over Russia to secure it against ‘Western sneak attacks.’ At the same time, he has to balance the demands of his irascible wife and voracious mistress while rescuing his gullible brother from the folly of building a ‘Sovietland’ theme park.” —Wired
“The grimmest, funniest, and one of the most cannily on-target accounts yet about the helter-skelter fast lane of life in the New Russia.” —The Boston Globe
In today's Russia, everyone's out for profit--especially Max Borodin, the hero of Womack's entertaining but uneven new thriller (after Random Acts of Senseless Violence, 1994). By equal turns officious and wryly humorous, Max, a former bureaucrat, lends money and forges documents through an organization called the Universal Manufacturing Company. But others want to share the profits, including a prominent Russian demagogue and several unsavory Georgian mafiosi. Max has a caring wife, Tanya, and a stunningly beautiful mistress to distract him--until his mistress's husband involves Max in a business deal that runs him afoul of both the head of the mafia and an aspiring nationalist politician. The husband is killed, Tanya is kidnapped and it's up to Max to straighten it all out--and to try to turn a profit at the same time. The engaging plot features several shoot-outs, safe crackings and stickups. Near the end, however, the pieces drop too easily into place. But Max is a charismatic narrator. Though his social criticisms lack depth, his comic observations of his fellow profiteers are winning, and he leads the reader merrily toward his goal of reaping the benefits of capitalism. As the title says, Womack is leaving behind his string of near-future thrillers here: no problem.