Vasilii Golovanov  <<

Spaces and Labyrinths 

Rights acquired by

Verdier, France

Aldelphi, Italy

Vasily Golovanov—the author of paradoxical literary investigations—in this book invites the reader to the expanses of the Caspian. His journey around the Caspian is not only an immersion into the exotic landscapes of Absheron, mountainous Dagestan, Iranian Turkmenia, and the canyons of Ustyurt. The author does not limit himself to the confines of a travelogue and consciously takes up the acutest issues of his day: migrants, oil, terror, major politics. . . . But the main thing that troubles the author is the problem of understanding. “Our unity lies in the fact that we are different,” he declares when he returns from his latest “journey with an open heart.” Poetry, the tender memory of the Azerbaijan village of Gala, his conversations with pilgrims and Dagestani fundamentalists, the true Iran, sincerity, friendship, and love—this is the material out of which Vasily Golovanov constructs his overall “universe of meanings.” His unseen and constant companions in the book are Nietzsche and Khlebnikov, Rumi and Sri Aurobindo, Stanislav Grof and Vasily Nalimov. This book was written by a Russian intellectual. For at least a third of this work comprises wanderings through the labyrinths of the author’s enigmatic soul. Where the Grand Inquisitor requisite in these instances, the invariable Prince Myshkin, and many other immortal images await you. The reward will be not simply a book of travel essays telling stories about Azerbaijan, Dagestan, the Astrakhan region, Mangyshlak, and Iran. It will be a journey in space and time. A kind of “millennia around the Caspian.” The present day, with its vital problems and vivid human destinies, will be interspersed with distant and not-so-distant antiquity. With biographies and events that are connected in one way or another with the Caspian region. A story about Zoroastrianism will lead you first to the legendary prophet and then to the no less legendary Friedrich Nietzsche and his theories. The story of Alexander of Macedon to the Hellenistic cultural revolution. You will get to meet on the pages of the book mysterious Izmailites and their enigmatic teaching, and you will read much of interest about Stepan Razin’s Persian campaign and the secrets of the Khazars, the solution to which the author seeks in ancient manuscripts and an archeological excavation. Russia’s advance into Central Asia, Eastern politics, English spies, and Peter I—there is a place in it for everything.” (Russkaya zhizn’)