(Novels: “My Golden Mother-in-law “, “Bogojar”, “The Darkness at the End of the Tunnel”, “Stand Up and Walk”; artistic novellas, literary essays, diaries and a number of volumes of stories)
My Golden Mother-in-law. A Novel (just at 200 pages)
Kalugin marries the daughter of the Director of an automobile factory, who is one of Stalin's ministers, only because he is madly in love with the man's wife, his future mother-in-law. A ruthless portrait of the immoral, decayed lifestyle of the members of the Kremlin Nomenclature painted from his personal experiences. At the same time, it is a variation on the ancient myth of fatal passion, an ode to the power of love that knows no boundaries. In doing so, he also manages to paint a portrait of the physical beauty of the older woman in such way that it takes on a certain Rabelais-like quality. The Russian critics found a number of comparisons. Nagibin is being named the Russian Henry Miller, and his novel is being called the "Anti-Lolita."
Bogojar. A Novel (ca. 220 pages)
Alexej and Anna seem to be leading a happy life. They both have their careers and two children together. But Alexej knows that Anna is only tied to him by their common memories. Actually she loved his friend Pavel, who fell in the Second World War. One day the family takes a boat trip to the island of Bogojar (in reality Walaam) on lake Ladoga, which was earlier inhabited by rebellious monks. After the war, this is where the cripples were "disposed of." On the island, Anna meets Pavel. Anna tells Alexej about meeting him, and it turns out that Alexej had left his friend in the lurch during the war. On the way back, Anna suddenly jumps overboard as the boat casts off, but her heart gives out. Pavel knows nothing of all this and continues to wait for Anna as he had done all the years before.
A French radio-journalist, who comes to Bogojar as a tourist, acquaints the world with the fate of the Soviet war invalids—a number of whom, the so-called samowars, have no limbs at all. The reaction of the powers that be is to exile the cripples to another, even more lonely island. The invalids—led by Pavel—nevertheless barricade themselves in, until, hungry and emaciated, they have to give up. Pavel remains on the island, taken in by the monks who have returned.
Anna had always been a puzzle for her daughter Tanya. After her mother's death, Tanya realizes that this reserved woman, closed-off to those around her, had experienced a great love. Tanya is even jealous of her. She drives off to Bogojar …
Nagibin’s books have been published by such publishers as Spiralli and Rizzoli (Italy), Faber & Faber (Great Britain), Gallimard (France), Profer (USA), Suhrkamp and Volk und Welt (Germany).