the government wanted us to lead healthy lives” An excerpt from Hanya Yanagihara’s new novel “To Heaven”. About the New York of the future, where there is no freedom — Meduza

Corpus Publishing House to go out Hanya Yanagihara’s new novel “To Heaven”. Translators – Alexandra Borisenko, Anna Gaidenko, Anastasia Zavozova, Viktor Sonkin. The author of bestseller A Little Life tells the stories of three heroes living in different times in his new book: in an alternate version of the USA in 1893, in America in 1993 and in the New York of the future – in 2093, the country, according to Yanagihara, lives under totalitarianism. With the authorization of the publishing house Meduza, publishes a fragment of the third part of the novel. The main character, the granddaughter of a great scientist, lives in a dystopian world drowned in epidemics. Here’s what his typical days look like.

News bulletins were broadcast four times a morning – at 5:00, 6:00, 7:00 and 8:00 – and you had to listen to at least one to not miss important information. For example, sometimes due to an incident, the route of the shuttles has changed, and the announcer has indicated to which areas these changes apply and where the shuttle must now wait. Sometimes they would broadcast an air quality report, then it became clear that a mask was needed outside, or they would report a high index of ultraviolet radiation, and then you had to take a protective cape, or a rise in temperature, then it was worth putting on a cooling suit. Sometimes a trial or an upcoming trial was announced so you could plan your time in advance. For those who worked in large public companies or research institutes, like my husband and I, the radio could announce the closure of these institutions or changes in working hours. For example, last year there was a hurricane again and they closed, but my husband and other technical staff still had to go feed the animals, clean up after them, recheck the salinity of the water in tanks divided into different classes and perform various tasks, with which computers could not handle. My husband was picked up by a special shuttle that did not follow the standard route, but went through all areas at once and then brought him straight home when the sky had already turned black.

When I was hired at UR six years ago, there were no air conditioning problems. But they’ve happened four times in the past year. Of course, the electricity in the buildings has never been completely cut off: five large generators can restore power almost instantly. But the last time, in May, we were told not to come if there was another power cut, because the generators that keep the fridges warm were already running at full capacity, and our body heat would have put even more pressure on the system.

Even though I didn’t have to go to work that day, my usual routine remained the same. Eat oatmeal for breakfast, brush your teeth, dry yourself with sanitary napkins, make your bed. But then it turned out that I had nothing to do: we go shopping at specially designated times, and laundry can only be arranged on water day, and this week it’s was already the case. I had to take a brush out of the cupboard and sweep the apartment, even though I usually clean on Wednesdays and Sundays. It didn’t take long as it was Thursday and the floors swept yesterday were still clean. Then it occurred to me to re-read the monthly newsletter that was sent to each apartment, and from there you could find out about upcoming road repairs in the neighborhood, tree planting on Fifth and Sixth Avenue, about new products slated to ship to grocery stores soon, when they go on sale, and how much the coupons will cost. In addition, the newsletter published recipes from the inhabitants of the Eighth Zone, which I always wanted to try. In this issue there was a recipe for roast raccoon with porridge for a side dish – especially interesting because I didn’t like raccoon meat and had to constantly look for different ways to improve its taste. The cut-out page with the recipe went in the drawer of the kitchen cupboard. My repeated attempts every few months to send them my own recipe were futile: they never posted anything.

After that, I could only sit on the sofa and listen to the radio. From half past nine to five they put on music, then three evening newscasts, and from half past seven to midnight, music again. Then the broadcasts stopped until 4 p.m. – they had to broadcast cryptic messages to the military, which sounded like a long soft hum, and we had to go to bed, because the government wanted us to lead healthy lives , and for the same reason the power grid during these hours the power was halved. The music was unfamiliar, but pleasant, it was soothing, and all the time I imagined mouse embryos floating in saline solution with underdeveloped legs, like tiny human palms. They had no tails either, just little spines, and if you didn’t know they were mice, you would never guess. It can be any embryo – cat, dog, monkey, even human. The researchers called them little fingers.

I was worried about the fate of the embryos, although that’s stupid: the generators won’t let them heat up, and they’re already dead anyway. They will forever remain as they are now, never develop into a full-fledged organism, never grow fat, never open their eyes, never grow white hair. And yet, it was because of them that the air conditioning system broke down. The thing is, there are different groups of people who don’t like DD. Some believe that scientists are not trying hard enough, that if they worked faster they would find a way to get rid of diseases and everything would change for the better, or maybe we would even go back to the old way life, like when there were so many years, how many for me. Others think that scientists are working on the wrong problems. Still others are convinced that scientists themselves grow viruses in laboratories because they want to destroy certain categories of people or help the government maintain control over the population, and this group is the most dangerous.

The main objective of the last two groups is to leave the scientists without little fingers: then they will have no one to infect with viruses, and if there is no one to infect, they will have to stop working or find another AVERAGE. So at least these people think. Power outages are not limited to: there are rumors that criminal gangs are attacking armored trucks in which laboratory animals are brought in from Long Island. After the 1988 incident, drivers were ordered to carry weapons with them, and each truck must now be accompanied by three soldiers. But these measures did not help: two years ago the assailants managed to stop the truck, those driving it were killed, and for the first time in all the years of the university’s existence, the animals were not delivered to the laboratory. At this time, the first power outage occurred. Then there are only two generators left in the UR, their power is insufficient, the voltage is lost in the Delacroix wing, hundreds of preparations are deteriorating, and several months of work have fallen through; after that, the head of the university asked the government to increase security, provide more generators and punish criminals more severely, and the request was met.

Of course, no one told me about it. To understand what it is, I have to listen to the conversations of the scientists whispering in a corner of the laboratory, and when they order me to bring embryos and take others away, I have to stop. – a moment, so as not to attract attention – and listen. No one really notices me, although thanks to my grandfather, everyone knows who I am. If new postdocs or candidates look at me as soon as I walk into the room, then thank me for bringing another batch of mice and taking the previous one away, it becomes immediately clear that they just figured out who I am. . But little by little they get used to it, stop thanking me and completely forget my presence, and that’s good.

It seemed like I had been listening to music for a very long time, but judging by the clock, only twenty minutes had passed. They said twenty past nine, which meant I had nothing to do until 5:30, when I could go to the store, which would be soon. But for now it was possible to walk around the Square.

For the first time on “Radio Dolin” – a program where there is (almost) not a word about cinema But there are tips on what to read, what series to watch and what contemporary artists to follow.

For the first time on “Radio Dolin” – a program where there is (almost) not a word about cinema But there are tips on what to read, what series to watch and which contemporary artists to follow.

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