Rasputin, Valentin (Распутин, Валентин Григорьевич) "Farewell to Matyora" (Russian: Прощание с Матёрой/Proschanie s Materoj) - 1976
A wonderful account of what development and progression can do to people. Matyora is a village in Siberia, a village like there are millions in this world. The people have lived there all their lives and everybody knows anyone, life goes on like it has hundreds of years ago, here and there we find new additions that make life easier, machines are introduced but for the ordinary people, life goes on as it always has. People get married, have children and die.
This is what most people in Matyora are looking at, this is there life. Or, in this case, it has been. The government decides to build a dam and float the whole area. The inhabitants of the village are to be relocated to other places nearby. While the younger generation welcomes the opportunity to get out of their destiny, the older members struggle, their whole world falls to pieces. Both parties portray what we all know, we have to make sacrifices for progress but how much is too much?
From the back cover:
"A fine example of Village Prose from the post-Stalin era, Farewell to Matyora decries the loss of the Russian peasant culture to the impersonal, soulless march of progress.
It is the final summer of the peasant village of Matyora. A dam will be completed in the fall, destroying the village. Although their departure is inevitable, the characters over when, and even whether, they should leave. A haunting story with a heartfelt theme, Farewell to Matyora is a passionate plea for humanity and an eloquent cry for a return to an organic life."
I have also read "To Live and Remember" by this great author.