The Freedom Factory
by Ksenia Buksha
translated from the Russian by Anne O. Fisher
Release Date: December 4, 2018
2014 Russian National Bestseller Award
Ksenia Bushka’s The Freedom Factory tells the story of a real-life military factory through monologues collected from anonymized workers, managers, and engineers. Not exactly realism, the novel combines poetry and documentary in unique proportion to transport its reader to the harsh and magnetic factory floor. If the Moth Radio Hour had a special episode to introduce listeners to the mythos, pathos, and yes, bathos of twentieth-century Russia, this would be it.
Winner of Russia’s National Bestseller Prize (2014) and essential reading to understand the persistence of the Soviet mindset, The Freedom Factory is a book of paradox, at once recognizable and idealized: a bittersweet recounting of military secrets and anecdotes, work and leisure, life stories and love stories.
“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
Poet, fiction writer, and artist Ksenia Buksha was born in Saint Petersburg. She holds a degree in economics from Saint Petersburg State University and has worked as a journalist, copywriter, and day trader. Since her breakout fiction collection Alyonka the Partisan (2002), Buksha has been winning acclaim as a brilliant stylist and satirist whose linguistic experimentation is guided by a healthy sense of the absurd. In 2004, The Freedom Factory won the National Bestseller award and was a finalist for the Big Book Award. Buksha’s work has been translated into Polish, Chinese, French, and English.
Anne O. Fisher’s recent translations include works by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, Nilufar Sharipova, Ilya Danishevsky, Aleksey Lukyanov, and Julia Lukshina. Fisher and co-translator Derek Mong collaborated to produce The Joyous Science: Selected Poems of Maxim Amelin (White Pine Press, 2018), awarded the 2018 Cliff Becker Prize. Fisher is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukie.
Cover art by Ksenia Buksha
Cover design by Jaya Nicely