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A resourceful shuttle trader from present-day Odessa tricks a tourist from St Petersburg into joining him on a business trip to Istanbul. The pair are cheated by their Turkish partners and give chase, becoming inadvertently embroiled in the theft of a precious stele from the local ethnographic museum. In pursuit of the robbers, the companions are transported back in time to the mythical city of Iram, where they are drawn into a world of dangerous court intrigues.

Iram itself evokes the exoticism of The Arabian Nights, and the adventures that take place there are reminiscent of Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Eventually the hapless traders return to Odessa and the whole trip would seem to have been a bad dream, were it not for the presence of a certain white camel…

The central theme of Iramifications is the eternal misunderstanding between East and West. Misconceptions and the notion of identity are explored on a journey from Odessa to the symbolic Oriental city of Iram, via the complexity of friendship and the blurring of borders between fantasy and reality. Tales are woven, deserts are crossed and battles are fought. East and West are worlds apart…or are they?

The novel abounds in various references to the Bible and the Koran, to Sufi parables and European Occult history, which mix happily with the contemporary vernacular of the main characters, whose relationship is the key element linking all of the book’s settings and events.

‘Galina’s novels look at problems of death and immortality, the end of the world and its eternity. Reality and mysticism flow into one another and even blend into an integral whole without any damage to either.’
— Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

Maria Galina, born in 1960, is a poet, critic, translator, and science fiction writer with ten SF books to her credit. A graduate from Odessa University majoring in marine biology she took part in several sea expeditions. She has been a professional writer since 1995. She has won many prizes for both her prose and poetry. Her fiction contains a strong element of magic realism while gender issues have always been the focus of her attention.

She has been nominated for the Russian Booker and short-listed for the Russian Critics Academy Award. Iramifications was awarded the International Portal Prize.

‘Galina has her own niche in today’s literature…She addresses both the elitist and the mass reader in her exquisite literary fiction.’ — Izvestiya

Translated by Amanda Love Darragh