The Freedom Factory
by Ksenia Buksha
translated from the Russian by Anne Fisher
Release Date: July 11, 2017
2014 Russian National Bestseller Award
The Freedom Factory tells the story of a real military factory in Saint Petersburg, recounted in the form of monologues collected from its anonymized workers, managers, and engineers. The Freedom Factory is not exactly realism: it combines poetry and documentary in unique proportion to convey the atmosphere of the absurd, harsh, and magnetic factory floor. Sometimes the narrative comes very close to everyday speech, sometimes it evolves into lyricism or grotesque humor, but it always remains sincere. The Freedom Factory recounts life stories and love stories, military secrets and anecdotes, work and leisure, as the many voices of the factory merge into a chorus.
“The Freedom Factory is a thriller, a romance, and a social drama all in one, and—this is especially important—it’s a book by a post-Soviet person about the Soviet experience.” —Dmitriy Bykov
“My first impression was that of a … novel written by a slightly drunk Joyce.” —Maxim Amelin
“[When I read the novel] I thought of Spanish Nobel laureate Camilo José Cela and his novel The Hive… which through the blending of many disparate voices gives an image of the time, the characters, the particular atmosphere. The Freedom Factory has echoes of this same device.” —Gennadiy Kalashnikov
“Ksenia Buksha has successfully done what no one else, it seems has been able to do: combine utopia and anti-utopia.” —Nadezhda Sergeyeva
Ksenia Buksha was born in Saint Petersburg. She graduated from Saint Petersburg State University, where she studied economics. She has worked as a journalist, copywriter, and translator. She debuted as a fiction writer in 2001. In 2014, The Freedom Factory won the National Bestseller award and was a finalist for the Big Book Award. Ksenia Buksha’s work has been, or will soon be, translated into Polish, Chinese, French, and English.
Anne O. Fisher holds a Ph.D. in Russian Literature from The University of Michigan. She has taught Russian in several institutes of higher learning and is now a literary translator living in Indiana. Her first major translation, Ilf and Petrov's American Road Trip: The 1935 Travelogue of Two Soviet Writers, was shortlisted for the Rossica Prize in 2007 for Excellence in Russian to English Literary Translation. She also translated Ilf and Petrov’s two satirical novels, The Twelve Chairs and The Little Golden Calf, as well as fiction by Margarita Meklina and, with co-translator Derek Mong, the poetry of Maxim Amelin.
Cover art by Jaya Nicely