Journalist Auren Khabichev's Review of Vladimir Grjonko's Novel "The Groundhog Time"
The story is totally non-linear and full of allusions. It's hard to tell what astonished me most – the unusual account of Biblical Abraham's life history or author's honesty, with which he subverts millenia-old truths. The synopsys says the novel is based on the same principle as Master and Margarita, but that's not what drew my attention, although, of course, credit should be given to Grjonko's mastery. The author wrote his own Bible – he writes Litia's life history in the clear and immaculate Biblical language. He uses the same Biblical language although somewhat abridged, modern, for the other chapters, "Before" and "After". And though each of these three chapters depicts three different eras, so distant from one another, so distinct, it feels like we follow the life of one person. The same Lutia that had been there at the beginning and got reborn in his descendants - author's great-grandfather, his grandfather, father and at last in the author himself. In my opinion, it's an amazing book that completely astounded me. Perhaps, that's due to the fact that it's been long since I last came across some deep, serious writing. One of the things that distinguishes this book in a nice way is its epic narration. Seems that Grjonko mastered the skill to convey big things in a concise and concentrated way, which is why the epic family saga came out as an average volume book. I also liked the "genuineness" of the characters. The life-like great-grandfather Woolf, vibrant Jewish aunties, Lutia, a truly Biblical character. The narrator himself, an unrecognised writer who seems to be sentenced to writing for his ancestors' sins, although writing doesn't pay him any dividends.