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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

BOOKWORM: Russian Fiction's Wild Cat Hits U.S.




St. Petersburg-born Cat Martin, nicknamed Kysiya and now based in the United States, is one of the best-known names in modern Russian popular literature.


His creator Vladimir Kunin, a Jewish-Russian emigre living in Germany, has just published the fourth book about his adventures titled "Kysiya in Hollywood. Part 1: Way to the Stars" (Kysiya v Gollivude. Chast pervaya: Doroga k zvyozdam)


Veteran Soviet script-writer Vladimir Kunin, who has several dozen films credits to his name, became extraordinarily popular some 10 years ago when he began writing light novels of universal human interest.


His first hit, "Intergirl" (Interdevochka), tells the story of the lively, witty and charming prostitute Tanya who served foreign clients in Kunin's native Leningrad during the perestroika years. After several million copies of the book were sold and it was made into a commercially successful film, sociological polls in the Soviet Union showed that the profession of the heroine became one of the most desired ones among women.


In the early '90s Kunin produced another smash hit, "Ivanov and Rabinovich Go to Haifa," and in the mid-90s he began writing a picaresque saga about the adventures of a cat in a style combining A.T.A. Hofmann, Konrad Lorenz and Elmore Leonard.


The saga is written in the first person, from the perspective of supercat Kysiya, the author's alter ego, who is super in every respect f in size, vitality, wit and sexual powers.


Kunin's books narrate with cheerful satire the cat's escapades in Russia, Germany and in the United States. Kysiya, who presents himself with the English expletive "starffker," is aggressive, cynical, and more often than not politically incorrect, but he never fails to work his charm.


The third book ended with Kisiya becoming an adviser to President Bill Clinton on Russian, Jewish-Russian and feline affairs. He also struck up a close friendship with Socks, the Clinton's cat, with Kisiya helping him arrange an active and often unbridled sexual life hidden from the attention of the mass media.


In this new novel Kysiya goes to Hollywood to play a leading role in a new blockbuster about his own adventures. The film script, however, lags behind the "reality" of the novel as Kysiya finds himself plunged into the midsts of international crime.


The final part of "Kysiya In Hollywood" is scheduled for release this fall.


One final note to potential buyers of the book: Like all of Kunin's previous books, it is published by Gelikon Plus in St. Petersburg and for some reason is not sold in Moscow's bookstores. It can be bought here only from street vendors for about 24 rubles at the Olimpiisky book fair.