An extract from Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv by Andrey Kurkov, translated by Reuben Woolley
Longlisted for the International Booker Prize 2023, Kurkov’s novel Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv, is a portrait of one of the world’s most intriguing cities
Shot through with Kurkov’s unique brand of black humour and vodka-fuelled magic realism, Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv is an affectionate portrait of one of the world’s most intriguing cities.
Strange things are afoot in the cosmopolitan city of Lviv, western Ukraine. Seagulls are circling and the air smells salty, though Lviv is a long way from the sea. A ragtag group gathers round a mysterious grave in Lychakiv Cemetery - among them an ex-KGB officer and an ageing hippy he used to spy on. Before long, Captain Ryabtsev and Alik Olisevych team up to discover the source of the ‘anomalies’.
Meanwhile, Taras - who makes a living driving kidney-stone patients over cobblestones in his ancient Opel Vectra – is courting Darka, who works nights at a bureau de change despite being allergic to money. The young lovers don’t know it, but their fate depends on two lonely old men, relics of another era, who will stop at nothing to save their city.
Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv was longlisted for the International Booker Prize 2023, announced on March 14 2023.
About the AuthorBorn near Leningrad in 1961, Andrey Kurkov was a journalist, prison warder, cameraman and screenwriter before he became well-known as a novelist.
About the TranslatorA translator from Russian to English, Reuben Woolley was the recipient of the National Centre for Writing's Emerging Translator Mentorship in Russian for 2020-21.
The escapades of Andrey Kurkov’s loveable eccentrics provide a frame for an intriguing portrait of Lviv in the 2000s, a melancholy borderland city that finds itself recalling a troubled past as it sits on the cusp of an uncertain future.