The Mountain and the Wall

by Alisa Ganieva


Fiction from Deep Vellum Publishing
Translated from Russian

A rumor spreads through Dagestan’s capital city, Makhachkala: the Russian government is building a wall to close off its Caucasus republics from the rest of the country. Ethnic and religious tensions mount—no one is spared from the consequences. But like a vision in the midst of this nightmare, the image of a “Mountain of Celebrations” appears, a refuge for all those who are tired of the intolerance and violence.

SKU: 137 Category:


Deep Vellum Publishing
Paperback: 9781941920152
Ebook: 9781941920145
Publication date: June 30, 2015

Translated from the Russian by Carol Apollonio


“Never before has Russian literature produced such an honest and complete picture of today’s Caucasus.” – Kommersant Weekend

“One of those novels that reminds us why reading world literature can be so compelling. . . . masterfully blends the ingredients of a society being torn apart by ideologies with all the little details that make the nonnative reader feel as if he or she has tasted the local cuisine from a family kitchen rather than a concept gastropub. It is a mass disaster novel as viewed through the eyes of young adults who mostly just want the freedom to dance, listen to music, and engage in courtship behavior, however clumsy.” — Rob Vollmar, World Literature Today(Editor’s Pick)

“The Mountain and the Wall is a compelling read that masterfully intertwines the politics of the contemporary Caucasus with an all-too-realistic dystopian future. More importantly, the wide release of this work makes Dagestan, in particular, and the Caucasus, in general, more visible to the rest of the world. It takes a snapshot of the complicated political, religious, and cultural landscape that, sadly, very few have taken the time to understand.” — Patrick Hall, International Policy Digest

“The land, seen in its beauty and the depths of the past, is the beating heart of Ganieva’s novel. Troubles may not be overcome, but they might be survived, and that love and the resiliency of a community ever malleable is the path to it. The Mountain and the Wall asks us to love and understand Dagestan, and the ask is compelling.” — P.T. Smith, Full-Stop

“Passionate and stylistically accomplished . . . Ganieva vividly portrays the disrupted patterns of contemporary life, the disjuncture between the rational, modern world and the primitive extremism that threatens it. She harnesses the tropes of apocalyptic fiction: mobile phone blackouts, boarded-up airports, anarchy, the rise of cults, just as Emily St. John Mandel does in the recent bestseller Station Eleven. Like Mandel, Ganieva is less interested in the mechanics of the doomsday scenario than its social and psychological repercussions.” — Phoebe Taplin, Russia Beyond the Headlines

“Complex in a nineteenth-century, great-multi-plot-Russian-novel way, especially in the religious and political fervor of the distinctly Dostoevskian crowd scenes that fuel the action; it’s compelling in its topical exploration of Islamic fundamentalism and annexation by or expulsion from the Russia Federation, depending on that nation’s shifting whims, e.g. Crimea and Ukraine these last two years.” — Genevieve Arlie, M—Dash

“Chapters filled with a babbling stream of consciousness form an ethnographic tour de force, and cover a wealth of rich local history, mixed in with traditional customs and their intersection with modern life of the 31 ethnic groups of Dagestan.” — Robert Chenciner, Open Democracy

“The Mountain and the Wall is a major event in contemporary Russian literature.”—Ulrich M. Schmid, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

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