C.'s Reviews > Almaty-Transit

Almaty-Transit by Dana Mazur
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Jan 15, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, own-or-access, fantasy
Read from January 15 to 29, 2011

Dana Mazur actually requested that I read and review this book, which no one has ever done before. This left me feeling slightly honoured, but mostly nervous as I am not incredibly talented when it comes to writing on demand. I'd also never read an entire e-book from beginning to end, as I don't find it comfortable to read on a computer screen. I'd also never really read anything like this before at all.

I don't quite know what to say about it. Almost every part of it is completely unlike the books I usually read. The parts that were set in California, in the real world, describing the life of a desperate genius (?) addict jazz producer Merry, her Kazakh husband Aidar and their neglected child Sultan, were close to contemporary realist fiction, which I don't often read as it is erratic and expensive. But this was great. I have no idea what to say about it because I have almost nothing to compare it to.

After Aidar dies under what seems like rather artificially-constructed circumstances (though this is explained later), the story turns into a bizarre, surreal ghost story. Characters flit back and forth between life and death in a way that doesn't really make any sense at all, but which is somehow entirely convincing. I guess you could call it magical realism, but it's so different from any of the other magical realism I've read that the label seems inaccurate. There seems to be no logic at work in this strange half-world, but there is no dream-like quality either; everything is concrete, real, and completely believable.

Strange and intriguing plot elements are introduced with disconcerting rapidity: strange white foetus-apples that cause fever and nausea; masked, unstable, incestuous pig-human twins; a jackal-faced man in a rowing boat; two frozen corpses holding their own severed penises in a basement; a woman locked in a cage, only able to be freed by a son who doesn't know of her existence; a mentally retarded, obese, white-as-the-moon child who grew up in a jug of milk. If there is a fault with this book, it is that not all of these points felt as if they had been concluded satisfactorily, but that they are there at all is one of its greatest strengths.

Although I didn't fall in love with this book, I do think it's pretty much fantastic. I would like to read more.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Wow

"strange white foetus-apples that cause fever and nausea; masked, unstable, incestuous pig-human twins; a jackal-faced man in a rowing boat; two frozen corpses holding their own severed penises in a basement; a woman locked in a cage, only able to be freed by a son who doesn't know of her existence; a mentally retarded, obese, white-as-the-moon child who grew up in a jug of milk"

Sounds good to me!


message 2: by C. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C. It really is! You should read it.


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