Alissa Ganijewa

Bride and Groom - Novel

Original Russian title: Жених и невеста, published in 2015 by AST, Moscow
(German title: Eine Liebe im Kaukasus)
ca. 240 pages
Alissa Ganijewa
Foto: Alissa Ganijewa
© Greg Bal

Alissa Ganieva, born in 1985, grew up in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, and currently lives in Moscow.

Her literary debut, the novella Salam, Dalgat!, published under a male pseudonym, provoked contradictory reactions in Russia: astonishment, especially among young Russians, at this unknown part of their country; and anger among radical Islamists at this negative portrayal of their homeland by one of their own. Ganieva works as a journalist and literary critic. Mountain of the Feast is her first novel. Her second novel, Bride and Groom (Жених и невеста, AST 2015), is to be published by Suhrkamp in 2016. For more information, please contact the respective rights manager.

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A multi-layered novel about private happiness, family structures and power relations in Dagestan


Patimat, Patya for short, and Marat are young, successful and live in Moscow. They have made it: they were able to escape the Caucasian back country that is still stuck between tradition and modernity, as well as police brutality, corruption and Islamist terror. Patya and Marat don’t know one another, but when they both return to their home village one summer, their story unfolds…

Marat, a young lawyer, returns to find his parents looking for a bride for their son frantically, while he finds himself still occupied with the case of a murdered civil rights activist. Patya, on the other hand, tries to dodge the advances of Timur, whom she had chatted with on Facebook for five months, and who now, to her parents’ joy, wants to marry her at all costs.

Marat and Patya find themselves helplessly subjected to a never-ending presentation of a seemingly infinite number of marriage candidates, a travelling circus of eligible men and women who stem from all sorts of social backgrounds. But when the two betrothed-to-be meet by chance, they find in the other what was being searched for them. Patya and Marat fall in love head over heels and dare to decide their fate on their own. It’s a long, difficult journey until their wedding day, since – of course! – the parents would prefer any other to the ones their children have chosen. But their big day finally arrives. However, life in the Dagestan province is unpredictable, and so the happiness of two young lovers is never a sure thing and their ending is anything but happy – though that is not their parents’ fault but that of a mobster released from prison at the wrong time…

Alisa Ganieva has written a tension-filled love story that takes us on a literary journey to the edge of Europe. In tender, rebellious, angry sentences, in funny, occasionally quirky scenes filled with dialogue, Bride and Groom paints the fascinating portrait of a society that hasn’t overcome its Soviet past, in which globalised lifestyles and family structures influenced by tradition, the archaic and the modern collide while corruption and the threat of terrorism are quite literally about to blow up its crumbling fundaments.


»The book is captivating, and not only because of its clever construction, its change of perspectives and its language that’s been enriched by youth slang and elements of Dagestani idiom, which Christiane Körner has beautifully rendered into German.« Ilma Rakusa, Neue Zürcher Zeitung


»After reading Eine Liebe im Kaukasus one has to admit: there’s just no getting around this author.« Moritz Scheper, DIE ZEIT


»A modern romantic novel set in an anachronistic world shaped by popular belief and clan structures.« Nina Apin, taz. die tageszeitung


»Alissa Ganijewa writes hilariously, absurdly and at times shockingly […] [she] tells her story in such an affectionate way that the reader may shake her head over the patriarchal beliefs and superstitious anxieties of the protagonists, but, spellbound, dives into this archaic world all the same.« Brigitte


»What at times reads like a situational comedy simply establishes the background for much profounder themes … And this is what allows the author of Eine Liebe im Kaukasus to deliver a nuanced, realistic and unsentimental romantic novel from a turbulent part of the world.« Clemens Hoffmann, SWR


»In her gripping novel Alissa Ganijewa manages to capture the female and male gaze, the village in the Caucasus and the world of Moscow, the energetic mother with her marriage plans and the antagonistic relationship with the village mosques.« Erika Achermann, St. Galler Tagblatt


»Do they manage to get them anyway? We won’t tell you that here. But the answer to that question is not the only reason to read this dialogue-rich social and romantic novel overflowing with situational comedy from the southern side of the Russian Federation.« Martin Ebel, Tages-Anzeiger


»With a delicate touch and eye for detail Alissa Ganijewa depicts the relationship between the traditional and the modern in a village on the shores of the Caspian Sea.« Melanie Schippling, BÜCHERmagazin 1/2017

Other publications

Die russische Mauer/Mountain of the Feast (2014)

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