22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Sergej Minajew

Sergey Minaev was born in 1975 in Moscow. He studied history and worked in the mid-90s for a wine import firm. During this time, he delved into the world of expensive clubs and luxury brands and wrote, influenced by Christian Kracht’s »Faserland«, his début novel »Duchless« (2006; tr: Cold Soul). »Duchless« is an Anglo-Russian word creation, with which Minaev, on the one hand, refers to the unquestioning adoption of an American lifestyle by his generation, and on the other hand, gives a name to the banality of the fake work done by high-earning managers. Detailing the hollow and dull life of a Muscovite financial director, who works for the Moscow agency of a French producer of tinned vegetables and who is driven by cynicism and self-loathing, this book became a cult favourite amongst Russia’s 30 somethings: »The so-called liberal values, which we bought for big bucks in the West, are cheap fucking imitations. Rubbish, glass beads for Indian chiefs.« Minajew exposes dubious business methods in the greed-driven modern economic life and dissects the society of the rich and the beautiful in Moscow. His abrasive style is perfectly suited to the rough reality he writes about. Sergej Minaev’s later novels are also set in Moscow’s business milieu. In »Media sapiens« (2007), a talented PR manager’s immersion in his work leads to trouble. Because he doesn’t care for whom he works, he is constantly switching sides, developing intricate PR strategies, including a »terrorist information attack«. His 2008 novel »The Tjolki. Povest’ o nenostojaščej ljubvi« (tr: The Bimbos. The tale of an unreal love) is set in the milieu of the Muscovite jeunesse dorée. The main character is in two relationships simultaneously, and manipulates his girlfriends, being only interested in hip night clubs, restaurants and luxurious bedrooms – until his life suddenly turns into a thriller. Together with »Duchless«, this novel is part of a trilogy, the third part of which (»R.A.B.«) was published in 2009, and has been labelled an anti-crisis novel. In this book, Minaev reveals his lyrical side in a poignant story of a middle-class businessman struggling with life’s adversities. Sergej Minaev is also a journalist and publisher (of, among others, Christian Kracht and Frédéric Beigbeder) and, since 2009, has presented the television programme »Čestnyj ponedel’nik« (tr: The Honest Monday) on the Russian channel NTW. Minaev lives in Moscow.