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The Land of Random Numbers


English samples available

Stephen King meets Ursula K. Le Guin and Philip K. Dick in this fascinating feast of the imagination.

Reminiscent of Black Mirror with a dark metaphysical twist, The Land of Random Numbers is a collection of stories dwelling on the “what if?” question. What if people reincarnated back in time in whole clusters? How about a game of Mafia, but with real murders? What if you could pass the trials of the Last Judgment during your lifetime? What if David Bowie didn’t really die, and Joseph Beuys was not rescued and cared for by Crimean Tatars, but by teenage girls in a suburban summer home? What if you lost the ability to speak after a brain injury, but there was still a conscious and verbal part of your brain that claimed a different personality? What if a new virus emerges, intertwining humans and nature into a global mystical “biotext”? And what do you do if you start hearing voices, where one of them is Stalin, and the other is an incoherent half-mute desperate to communicate?

Zamirovskaya stories unravel in realities similar to ours, albeit with a touch of the fantastic. They evolve from themes of the mundane, bureaucracy, power and family. In this transformed universe, time travel is possible, the world can change in a blink of an eye, familiar historical figures play completely different roles, and an ordinary game can become something much more threatening and sinister than ever imagined.

Tatsiana imbues her personal memories with the dark surrealism of totalitarian-era writing, ghost stories, and children’s folklore, creating spine-chilling, absurd narratives about distorted normativities, in which the surreal takes over and becomes the norm.

Much inspired by metaphysical realism, Tatsiana skillfully intertwines the ideas of quantum theory, neuroscience and biology to explore the nature of things in an attempt to look beyond reality as we know it, to achieve a multi-dimensional perception of the world.

With its poetic language, replete with exquisite metaphors and mesmerizing rhythms, this captivating book lures the reader into the glimmering net of universal existential questions. The Land of Random Numbers is a strikingly humane book about coming of age, violence, language deprivation and broken memory, withholding answers but offering vast spaces for contemplation.

The author of this book is a stalker. She has a unique optics that allows her to cross the borderline between the real and the other worlds as if no such border has ever existed. From the inside of the text there seems to be no such borderline for you either, and you get to understand how the universe works, and you always knew it, of course, but somehow forgot. And now you remember again.

— Yana Vagner, the internationally bestselling author of To the Lake

There’s something wrong here, but what? While life is similar to art – its coincidences and inconsistencies, hopeful occurrences and recurrent turns of fortune – the real art is never similar to life. Or maybe, it is, though, with its misleading optics, a curved beam of light. Here it is, this curve, a frighteningly recognisable unrecognition. Here is my briefcase returned, but maybe this one is not mine, after all, and belongs to someone else – or maybe, I am that someone. Zamirovskaya peeks into the other world which is intervening with our world, just like Kharms’ messengers, causing sudden goosebumps all over the skin.

— Matvei Yankelevich, a poet and translator (New York)

With every story, every episode, and word Zamirovskaya probes the world for its resistance, as a child first pokes with a stick what he is afraid to touch with his hands. Is it what it looks? And if different, is it good or evil, a truth or a lie? The answers often betray expectations, however, the author’s optimism makes her continue with the research. Indeed, we only live as long as we continue to ask questions.

— Anna Kozlova, a writer

Each story is a puzzle in the labyrinths of mirrors, but the text has nothing to do with a calculated narrative. Love and memory spring here through the basement of the universe, a living organism fuelled with heart beats of readers and the writer alike.

— Alexander Gavrilov, a publisher and critic

Razor-sharp, whimsical yet lucid prose of Zamriovskaya takes the reader by hand and leads through the looking glass to reveal one’s real self. It is too late to close your eyes from fear and pretend you have not been there.

— Natalia Lomykina, Forbes

Book details

Elena Shubina Publishing (AST)

2019, 2022

Short stories

390 pp

Rights sold

  • All rights available

Literary awards

  • Shortlisted for the New Literature Award 2021

  • Longlisted for the National Bestseller Prize2020

  • Gorchev Best Short Story Award 2018

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