The Mountain and The Wall by Alisa Ganieva The Russian authorities are planning to build a wall to isolate the troublesome Caucasus from the rest of the country. That’s the rumour that drives Alisa Ganieva’s 2012 novel, set in a dystopian-yet-real version of her hometown of Makhachkala, Dagestan’s coastal capital city. Shamil, a young Dagestani reporter, wanders the streets while his girlfriend, Madina, dons a hijab and heads for the hills to marry a murderous zealot. It’s another prophetic narrative and Ganieva’s picture of the social and psychological fallout of apocalyptic events feels a bit near the knuckle in 2020. A few years ago, I joined a press trip to Makhachkala to see a new art exhibition and take a trip (with armed escort) into the waterfall-braided mountains. Dagestan is not really a holiday destination, even when there’s no pandemic, and a novel about Islamic radicalisation isn’t likely to encourage tourists. But Ganieva … [Read more...] about 10 of the best novels set in Russia – that will take you there
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