On June 3, 1943 at the Stone Bridge in Moscow a tragedy took place that shocked the political elite of that time and became the starting point of an investigation into other historical and political facts. Nina Umanskaya, the beautiful 14-year-old daughter of a Soviet diplomat, was murdered by her classmate and admirer, Volodya Shakhurin, son of a People's Commissar. After that the young man shot himself.
The Stone Bridge is a detailed historical reconstruction of the Stalinist era as seen through one man’s seven-year investigation into the case of the 'wolves' cubs' – a Nazi-inspired secret society inside an elite Kremlin school.
Based on a true story, The Stone Bridge resurrects actual historical figures and brings to light official documents from NKVD case files. The book shines the spotlight on a past with which the country has never properly come to terms, and which therefore – tragically – has a poisonous effect on present-day Russia.
This English edition of the novel features unique historical photographs, including archive documents previously forbidden for publication. Full collection of The Stone Bridge photographs can be found on a special website dedicated to the novel.
Translated from the Russian by Simon Patterson and Nina Chordas.
"Instead of the standard Russian problems, What is to be done? Who is to blame?, Terekhov’s novel raises postmodern (or post-Soviet) questions: Who am I? What is history?"
Times Literary Supplement
"Stone Bridge, the bitter fruit of the Putin era, is postmodern and anti-nostalgic; for Terekhov, Russian history is destitute of glamour, heroism or plot."
London Evening Standard
"The mere sensationalism of the conclusions made in the course of the investigation is not enough to build the narrative that the critics now have an opportunity to sample. The concept statement that this book is, it’s filled with deep, multifaceted thinking and the vastness of ideas. An achievement for the reader, and the critic."
"In his novel The Stone Bridge, Alexander Terekhov got even with the genre, maliciously turning the classic suspense story upside down. According to Terekhov, the mystery is not in whodunit, but in the identity of the people leading the original investigation."
"Or we can recall Alexander Terekhov’s major novel The Stone Bridge, with two epochs juxtaposed as the protagonist investigates a crime committed in 1943 while chasing the survivors in present time and coming into contact with various aspects of the new order."
Natasha Perova / Publishing Perspectives
Terekhov’s 'fine satire' as it was noted by The Guardian was compared by The Moscow Times to that of Saltykov-Shchedrin and the individuality of his language to that of Platonov. His writing, they suggest, ‘is packed with forceful imagery and the slang of modern Russia... [and] a distinctive and individual intonation’.
Alexander Terekhov was born in June 1966 in the provincial town of Tula, just south of Moscow. After graduating in journalism from Moscow State University he was conscripted and served in the Soviet Union’s Internal Security Forces. After the army Terekhov worked as a reporter for the cultural sections of the journals Ogonek and Stolitsa, and then in various editorial positions. At the same time he began to win acclaim for his literary dissection of military life and his depiction of the chaos that perestroika had ushered in across provincial Russia.
Prizes and awards:
The Big Book Prize 2009