Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: May 24, 2022
by Vladimir Sorokin, translated from the Russian by Max Lawton
An NYRB Classics Original
Telluria is set in the future, when a devastating holy war between Europe and Islam has succeeded in returning the world to the torpor and disorganization of the Middle Ages. Europe, China, and Russia have all broken up. The people of the world now live in an array of little nations like puzzle pieces, each cultivating its own ideology or identity, a neo-feudal world of fads and feuds, in which no one power dominates. What does, however, travel everywhere is the appetite for the special substance tellurium. A spike of tellurium, driven into the brain by an expert hand, offers a transforming experience of bliss; incorrectly administered, it means death.
The fifty chapters of Telluria map out this brave new world from fifty different angles, as Sorokin, always a virtuoso of the word, introduces us, among many other figures, to partisans and princes, peasants and party leaders, a new Knights Templar, a harem of phalluses, and a dog-headed poet and philosopher who feasts on carrion from the battlefield. The book is an immense and sumptuous tapestry of the word, carnivalesuqe and cruel, and Max Lawton, Sorokin's gifted translator, has captured it in an English that carries the charge of Cormac McCarthy and William Gibson.