Last Wednesday I had the honor and the privilege of having been invited to a literary lunch hosting several prominent Latin American writers and poets. I was able to get my hands on many interesting books, and also to announce my upcoming book, a work of fiction called “Never Stop the Madness”.
I have been with this idea – to write an old-school, nineties-style book – since 2011. The aim was to create a work of fiction which would touch on many various topics, from the underground culture of the nineties (view through the eyes of the Russian teenagers), to chernukha*, violence and madness, to lesbian-related sociological issues. I wanted to discuss the philosophical aspects of the appearance of one’s self, using seeming insanity for a basis and a method. I wanted to combine bits and pieces of memory and reality, interspersed by thought-provoking – sometimes even inflammatory – chunks of texts, further spiced by magic, mysticism, notes on art, philosophical treatises and more.
At that time my time was fully occupied by my work on “Carne” (that’s my 2nd book, due in 2016; a socio-philosophical work based on a full-scale journalistic research into such grisly topics as human trafficking, adult industry, illegal immigration, shadow markets, and the part played by the state – both a socialist and a capitalist one – in the underground criminal world). During my 7-year research, starting around 2008, I had encountered misery and muck aplenty, hellish and hair-rising life conditions and situations. I saw firsthand police brutality, human trafficking, violent encounters with smugglers, the almost-impossible life in the slums and much more. Some of what I saw I will be able to use in my new book, whether in the form of stories or of reflection on various topics.
My literary style is heavily influenced by both Russian and Latin American literary traditions, and by the underground and transgressive cultural strata. I had been attracted to the Latin American literature even before coming over; this attraction grew with my knowledge and understanding of the region, and became an integral part of my own style. As for the art of transgression and the underground culture, well, they are always in my heart.
“Never Stop the Madness” does not have a rigid structure, though it can be viewed as roughly concentrated around two main ‘hubs’. The first is more hermeneutic and philosophical, with strong lesbian overtones. It naturally attracts thoughts on such topics as female sociology and separatist philosophy. I also talk about a few women whose life work concentrated around the counter-culture and the [anti]-art. The second hub is ethnical-psychological, and is naturally related to Russia and its nineties, to the meditations on the cold and perverse charm of the plague winds blowing through the Continent subdued by the Void. It is an attempt to comprehend the Space which dominates the Person, and is full of techno-pagan hymns.
My ideas and thoughts about this book and it’s conception, were met with enthusiasm, especially when the guests realized I was born in St. Petersburg: Russian culture is known and loved in Latin America, and Petersburg has always been its symbolic center.
Out of the planned 25 or 30 chapters, a fair dozen are nearly ready, and another ten are at the ‘advanced draft’ stage. It is my hope to finish the book before the end of the year.
* Chernukha (Rus.) is a slang term popularized in the late 1980s, used to describe a tendency toward unrelenting negativity and pessimism both in the arts and in the mass media.
Kitty Sanders, 2015