• Julia Kissina herself is a marvelous hybrid creature: internationally acting artist with an oeuvre of installations, art works and performances on the one hand and one of the most unconventional contemporary writers on the other. […] Her literary archeology of late socialism seems not at all reactionary but highly topical, as it does with Esterhazy or Tellkamp: because it’s the influences and mentalities of that time that cause the grotesques and tragedies in the European present.
Alexander Camman, DIE ZEIT, Germany
novel «Bubush”, published in 2021 by AST publishers, Moscow
The novel «Bubush» has just been nominated for the St. Petersburg literary prize National Bestseller and for the «Big Book» prize in Moscow.
«Bubush», the trauma of memory, and the desire for change, are brought into an irresolvable conflict. Locations — Paris — Berlin — San Francisco. The protagonist Andy, a former alcoholic and writer, has an undeniable charisma. They meet in Berlin and move to San Francisco populated by ex-hippies, beatniks and ageing gangsters. Andy cannot let go of the story of his mother, who had miraculously escaped death in Nazi occupied Paris. Her phantom constantly smokes on the roof, forgets her lipstick in the bathroom and stands at the head of the bed. Bubush becomes a hostage to Andy’s trauma. One day she notices in the bay the lonely island of Alcatraz, legendary prison. From that moment on, she has only one desire: to escape.
• «A reckless and magnificent novel about the anxiety that feeds both madness and love.»
Dmitry Volchek, editor-in-chief of Radio Liberty (Russian service)
• «Julia Kissina’s astonishing writing gently and ruthlessly brings us back to the world in which we have always existed.»
Pavel Pepperstein, writer, laureate of the Andrei Bely Prize
• „The story in this novel is the confrontation of two worlds, in one of which lives the hero’s mother, who miraculously escaped a concentration camp in Paris, 1942; and in the other — his girlfriend, nicknamed Bubush. Both worlds are full of ghosts. Both are virtual and parallel to the life taking place between Berlin and San Francisco. Which of these is real? To find out follow the heroes of this brilliant, messy, crazy novel, which is in fact, alive and is the essence of modern literature.“
Igor Bondar-Tereschenko, literary critic
• Kissina’s book is just right from edge to edge. Everything is precise. Every phrase. You can cite them endlessly. It’s really world prose.
Igor Funt, Editor and literary critic, 2022: Kamerton magazine
• Love is always something that we are not able to imagine. And only geniuses and madmen are able to describe this state in words. Julia Kissina is able to do it. This is not a love story; but a universal metaphysical text, which you feel, rather than read.
In my opinion, what is rare, is the Russian language of Julia, who has lived about thirty years in the West, It is malleable, light, metaphorical, will give a head start to many contemporary recognized Russian writers, and yet it has a flair (in a good sense) of timeless Europeanness.
Marina Kronidova, art historian, literary critic, 2022: National Bestseller Literature Price, Petersburg
• If the cover of the book bears the praise of Dmitri Volchek, this means something to the untrained Russian reader. The head of Kolonna Publications is still considered one of the main connoisseurs of «non-formal» European prose. He is known as a man of impeccable taste for sophisticated literature with «painful depth». In his time, he also found black diamonds in our country. Yes, it was Volchek who introduced the reader to the prose of Sergei Ukhanov and Ilya Masodov. Julia Kissina, of course, is not the same, because she’s better. She is much better.
Roman Bogoslovsky, writer and journalist, 2022: National Bestseller Literature Price
• An incredibly charming book about love and madness. At first the text pretends to be a novel about the trauma of World War II. However, the smokescreen of intellectual prose quickly dissipates, and «Bubush» turns into a witty description of a love adventure in complex social and psychological circumstances.
Aglaya Toporova, journalist and sociologist, 2022: National Bestseller Literature Price
• Dynamic, tense prose with apt metaphors and feisty stylistics. It’s as if Bunin got together with Bukowski, and they decided to go visit Burroughs. The heroine is called «Bubush» by her American lover, and the «grandmother» in this nickname symbolizes the «future» of all European prose.
Igor Bondar-Tereschenko, literary critic, 2021: Snob Magazine
• The novel «Bubush» is complex and non-linear, constantly thrown back and forth in time. With its cosmopolitan gallery of diverse characters, «Bubush» is the marriage of East and West.
The Reader Tolstov, 2022: Baikalinform Magazine
• I could not tear myself away from reading Julia Kissina’s novel “Bubush”. It is suffused with passion and sincerity. Every paragraph, sentence and single word comes from the heart.
Peter Markman, architect, Kiev
SPRINGTIME ON THE MOON
• The novel «Springtime on the Moon», with its Homeric humor, is a masterpiece in the spirit of Fellini’s «Amarcord», a book of memory. Kissina does not strike a single false note. It is one of the best (sharp, accurate, metaphysical) texts of our generation.
CHASNY KORRESPONDENT, Moscow
• An absurd, wonderfully wound-up and comical novel… Intense, eloquent, fantastic and amusing, but sometimes also malicious and merciless – this is what Julia Kissina’s novel proves to be. DEUTSCHLANDRADIO KULTUR, Germany
• Enchanted, crazy: Julia Kissina’s novel «Springtime on the Moon» convinces with warmth and humor, impudence and thoughtfulness.
FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG, Germany
• How can an adult convey a sense of the wealth and chaos of teenage consciousness? Julia Kisina does the impossible in «Springtime on the Moon». This is a striking work; an amazingly beautiful evocation of the lost world of youth, set in Kiev.
Clemens Hoffman, WEST-GERMAN BROADCASTING (WDR-5) Germany
• «Springtime on the Moon» is often studiedly amusing, but the attempt to take more than light fiction from her own memories lends Kissina’s book a Nabokovian dimension.
SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, Germany
• As funny as Kaminer and as serious as Nabokov.
SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, Germany
• In her intensity Kissina’s image-like prose recalls Bruno Schulz.
ELEPHANTINA’S MOSCOW YEARS
• «Elephantina’s Moscow Years» is a veritable inferno of a novel: smart, funny, imaginative, with powerful scenes.
Meike Fessmann, SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, Germany
• Kissina breaks open metaphors and puts them together anew, so that you have to laugh out loud or marvel at the sheer originality of it all. […] The colorful, grotesque, poetic images of «Elephantina» do not portray the well-known Moscow of the eighties, but evoke something quite different: a wild, anarchic counterculture.
Elisa von Hof, BERLINER MORGENPOST, Germany
• There is hardly another book that so illuminates the connection of tyranny, subversion and autonomy. This is a bright ‘ship of fools’ that is also a sacred citadel. Kissina parodies herself and at the same tine is deeply serious — like farce and liturgy, comedy and tragedy.
Andreas Breitenstein, NEUE ZÜRCHER ZEITUNG, Switzerland
• Her unflinching will to see grotesque in the ugly, the supernatural in beauty, and the thread of the absurd running through it all, is a victory over the hardness of reality. That is what art, every art, can do. But it is rarely shown as inspiringly as here.
Katarina Granzin, FRANKFURTER RUNDSHAU, Germany
• A true odyssey through the cold and strange city – James Joyce could not have described it more radically or more closely. Julia Kissina’s language is a linguistic firework. It does not bore for a single moment, and despite the often bitter «gutter» story, a defiant humor flourishes throughout.
Barbara Raudszus, EGOTRIP, Germany
A collection of short stories
• Kissina uses dusty stereotypes as literary raw material and then gives them a new glow.
NEUE ZÜRCHER ZEITUNG, Switzerland
• The stories in Julia Kissina’s «Forget Tarantino» bubble over with fantasy. Great fun to read!
RADIO GERMANY (DEUTSCHANDRADIO/ KULTUR)
• «Forget Tarantino» is a real breakthrough. Julia Kissina’s stories inhabit the realm of the comically absurd, often full of hair-raising connections. As in the case of Elfriede Elinek, Kissina’s work has «the power of conviction».
Jean-Christophe Ammann, KUNSTZEITUNG, Germany
THE SMILE OF THE AX
A collection of short stories
• One of the leading themes of Kissina’s prose is the interweaving of cruelty and cultural memory hidden underlayers of irony. Julia Kissina is a refined stylist, masterfully building her own and very peculiar narrative.
NEW LITERARY REVIEW MAGAZINE, Moscow
A collection of two short novellas and six stories
• These are the fantastic political conspiracies and intricate murders committed by women and children in the innocent guise of traditional literature. A beautiful young woman turns out to be a lethal political activist, a little girl is a serial killer, a mother with her child blows up a town, and in the Moscow market widows sell the mummies of their husbands killed in the Second World War.
RUSSKI JOURNAL, Moscow