…I swallowed The Building in a single day, unable to put it down. And it wasn't just a matter of a tightly-woven plot… In an intriguing and dynamic style, The official site for author Vladimir Grjonko (Grzhonko) has latest news, novels, short stories, a number of essays, etc.'s novel touches upon philosophical issues that many would otherwise find dull and irrelevant-the issues of Time, God, the Labyrinth, and the frailty of human existence.
"…The audience was now completely and entirely transparent, it was no good anymore, everyone recoiled and scattered-only the last, painted rows remained still… Everything unraveled. Everything fell. A twister picked up and span dust, pieces of cloth, chips of painted wood, slivers of gilded plaster, cardboard bricks, playbills; a dry murkiness flew; and Cincinnatus walked amidst the dust and fallen objects and flapping canvas, headed for the place where, judging from the voices, creatures like himself waited."
Thus ends Invitation to a Beheading, Vladimir Nabokov's novel of illusion. As I neared the end of The Building, I had the acute sense that these two novels, like Kipling's Jungle People, be of one blood.
"I looked behind me, slumped against the wall and started sliding down. I couldn't help it. The ground slipped out from under me, like the elevator's floor had before. Then it shuddered and rumbled. The Building I'd just left began to founder by degrees, weirdly folding in on itself. For an improbable second I imagined that if I could just stay on my feet, the Building, too, would halt its huge grim collapse. But some heedless irrational force pulled me down to the heat of the pavement. I fought it with failing strength. The Building seemed to slow its progress, then succumbed to the inevitable and sank to its dusty grave. A cloud of smoke billowed up and outward and, just as I hit the sidewalk, shrouded the final devastation in a whirl of tiny tornadoes. The dust blocked the sun, and I was almost sure somebody simply dimmed it as per stage directions. There was screaming and aimless commotion…"
…These lines at the end of The Building are followed by the date and place it was written: June 2001, New York. Three months later, one after another, two huge Manhattan buildings would begin their swift, grim collapse… and people would run screaming, not yet believing that it spelled the end of the buildings, their residents, and our illusions-the first among them, the illusion of peace on earth.
…Vladimir Grjonko’s novel deals with many illusions, one of which is the belief that God created Space. The Argentine author Jorge Luis Borjes maintained that God created only Time, the chronological order of things. To deviate from Borjes’ concept, it was Man that created the Labyrinth—his own punishment, the symbol of his fear and confusion in the face of Time.
…It appears that culture shock, that peculiar psychosis of a new immigrant's first years, is passing for the last wave of [Russian] immigrants to the U.S. Embracing the time factor, the creative mind is finding its balance, taking its bearings, and readying for self-realization. Such minds are increasing in number; and as dictated by the dialectic rule, this growth is resulting in the first samples of our very own, brand-new Russian-American literature.
Gennady Katsov
Novoye Russkoye Slovo & Russian TV Guide, New York