An Awkward Age by Anna Starobinets
‘…passing by the unmade bed, she suddenly remembered her daughter’s words: There’s something that crawls over his bed as well. Insects… She went closer, gave the grey, beslobbered blanket a cautious shake…’
Drawing the reader into an eerie world, disturbed world, Starobinets blurs the boundaries between real and imagined in this startling and unsettling collection of stories set in modern Russia.
The title story of this collection, ‘An Awkward Age’, spins the tale of seven-year-old Maxim, who lives with this mother and identical twin sister in Moscow. Though distressed by his parents’ divorce, nothing could prepare his family for his horrifying transformation as he enters adolescence. Only when his diary is discovered does the sinister and terrifying truth behind his metamorphosis from boy to monster come to light.
Starobinets’ unsettling imagination and simplicity of prose come to the fore in this gripping book where damaged characters, broken relationships and unruly society collide. An Awkward Age is haunting and evocative and will stay with you long after you’ve finished the last page…