Vodkaberg: Nine Years in Russia

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In the year 2000, English Teacher X moved to the bankrupt, frozen, desolate country of Russia, seeking a quiet life.

Instead, he found himself the center of attention of the gorgeous, sexy, amoral, and abundant female population of the city of Vodkaberg, as one of the few foreign residents there.

At first bewildered and uncomfortable with the attention, he soon grew to love it and found himself settling in for a long stay of girl-chasing and vodka-drinking, and staying much, much longer than he planned.

But as the years pass, Russia begins to change and develop into a fast-growing modern oil superpower, one that is increasingly nationalistic and hostile to foreign residents.

The lives of the English teachers, however, remain mired in a perpetual adolescence of self-gratification, and English Teacher X's conflicted emotions about his life begin to come burbling out at strange time and in bizarre ways ...

VODKABERG: NINE YEARS IN RUSSIA is a portrait of troubled people in a troubled country during a time of rapid change, and another examination of the darker side of English teaching and life abroad.

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So here it is. It's big -- more than 118,000 words, which is like more than twice as long as my other books. It's also complex, with lots of characters, and probably a lot more dark, weird, difficult, and depressing than my last memoir.

But -- you want to know what my time in Russia was like? This is it. That's the only claim I make for it.

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Anonymous said...

Plan to, but haven't yet read the book, even though it has a somewhat jarring title.

Had you considered Vodkaville or Vodkatown, or even Vodkaburg, as in St.Petersburg?

What made you go with the lame and homely Vodkaberg?

English Teacher X said...

My editor wanted to change it to "Vodkaburg" but I already had referred to it as Vodkaberg for so long -- as in iceberg, with a play on the Romanized version of the suffix "burg" -- that I decided to keep it. Vodkaburg looked too much like "Vodkaburger."

And it's a pretty homely place, anyway.

Anonymous said...

A little research tells me the Germanic suffix "berg" refers to mountains or hills, so "Vodka Mountain," rather than "burg", which refers to a fortress. "Vodka Fortress" doesn't make much sense.

Cuco said...

Hi, Teacher X!

I can't find your books on You know, we Russians don't use to pay for anything. So, which place on Internet I can steal your books? Now I'm reading your book of Thailand (To Travel Hopelessly) and I like it. I would like to read the Vodkaberg to know about your experience in Russia. I hope I'll get all you stuff for free. Yeah, I'm an immoral bastard but who cares.

Great wishes from Putinland!
P.S. I'll offer you shots of vodka in any time if you will visit Russia again.

English Teacher X said...

Oh, I only DREAM of making Pirate Bay. E-mail me and I'll send you something free.