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Women’s Corporation

AST Publishing House, November 2012
The new novel intertwines the shocking interpretation of biblical stories, intrigues of the big business and realistic life stories of the heroes. The plot is scandalous and eccentric: creation of a super-corporation using a tabooed resource, which people never dared to write about or even to speak openly.

Amidst the fever of preparations for the Holiday Season, of buying gifts for near and dear, the Moscow book stores ran out of the new book by Elena Kotova “Women’s Corporation”. Sold out! Completely! Readers, counting on entertaining. Intellectual and capturing reading over the holidays dashed to internet book-store “OZON” (Russian equivalent of “Amazon”), but, alas, even this vendor ran out of the new arrival a few days later. Strange sale policy of the publishing house and our book stores: during the peak sales period, when all producers and vendors work 24/7, out book dealers decided that they are also entitled to rest, and to holidays. And the readers were told that the new portions of Kotova’s book “Women’s Corporation” would reappear in the store only in mid-January.

Book reviews
Reader comments
02.12.2012. sobakajs (livejournal)
Women’s Corporation – a novel, which is quite realisitic, not to say, down-to-earth, and phantasmagoric at the same time. Extremely serious, one can call it “art-house” but extremely funny, even wild. Yes. Wild. Someone would call it obscene, but I am impressed how the author pulls down the masks and removes taboos from many themes prohibited for discussion. How the women get insane from fear to loose their attractiveness of the youth, and get involved in all idiotic adventures with plastic surgeries, liposuctions, paying for young boys. How the men are unhappy with their “wives of the first wave” – one has become a laborholic, the other doesn’t want to have sex anymore, the third one nags her husband 24/7, the fourth has drinking problems unable to keep herself busy. How the young girls, lovers of those men, become only too soon exactly like the wives, although the men obtained these girls formostly in order to escape from the tyranny of the wives. The author revealed – skillfully, sharp, like a snake – many human vices. She did not spare either the biblical themes and explained that God encouraged prohibition of cognition, while the Devil – he pushed the people, women in the first place, towards passion, search and doubts. But the plot is something unthinkable. The talented women, after spending half of their lives in gossiping about the unfairness of the world, which is organized according to men’s rules, have created an insurance society “Beyond the Fringe”. Just read the Charter, it’s worth it! The women of 18-45 pays premiums from the dough, which (quote) “each normal woman receive from men”. Once she goes over “The Fringe”, in other words at menopause – the receive the insurance (a hefty one) and are free to spend it either to continue the “games of the youth”, or to develop their own shareholding society, if by that age they’ve understood that that true power of women is irresistible regardless of the age, and a woman ought only not to allow the society to deprive her of this power, and the society had been doing ever before. Here you’d find the Old Testament, Faust, Dante, Milton, Aristotle, – all of them had contributed to canonization of the men’s superiority. The most frightening is that the women had not only accepted this, but oddly started to believe that this is even convenient… So, using this resource – even scary to say out loud – the women’s menopause the women create a huge corporation. Here start the men’s resistance, their mean competition, the resistance of the “power”, which attempt to encourage the men’s upheaval, and all of the above get mixed into such a deliciously intellectual and hilarious carnival that the “Fringes” – of the reality, of the serious and of buffoonery, of the truth of life and of phantasmagorical – one can hardly see them anymore. Impossible to resist the novel. I strongly recommend.
Nikolay Zlobin, American-Russian political scientist, writer and columnist
Reluctantly, I have started to read “Women’s Corporation”. Reluctance was caused by the lack of time, as I have already learned from the first two books by Kotova that once I start, it would be difficult to stop. This was exactly what happened. In short, congratulations! You don’t stop to surprise me. This time, by having written a book, which theme and style is so different from the first two ones. In short, it’s very good that they’d kicked you out of this f*cking bank, and provided you with an opportunity to write good literature. At least the EBRD President Mirow has done something worthy, if not for you than for us. I never was a fan of women’s prose, but lately started to see that I am less and less satisfied by male writers trying to write about women. They can’t make it believable and natural and, if you wish, too male-oriented. To understand women, one should read female prose. You are just and ideal example of a person, capable of explaining a contemporary successful Russian woman is, with all her pluses and minuses, with all the phantoms in her head, with her husbands, money and personal problems. It’s cool that you manage to explain it intelligently ( I mean the old good Russian language school), delicately, not vulgar and clever. It’s a delight to read your texts regardless of the theme. A phenomenon which come across today not that often. Plus irony, sarcasm, satire, philosophy and even business 101 in one bottle. The pot is robust, the idea is clever, never touched before, the characters are real, even those, who – according to the plot – ought to be mystical. Never thought about this Fringe of women’s life.. Now I see it do much clearly what is happenining to all of you, why you start to get hysterical and jump at us, men, literary and allegorically. At least, having read your book, I would be able to take this phenomenon more rationally. Men perceive themselves and what it brings them in a very different way. But this is already a theme for a male writer. Once again – congrats!!!
Natalia Podsoblyaeva
Elena! Yesterday I turned over the last page of “Women’s Co”. Wonderful, intelligent, dynamic and mostly important — absolutely modern story... A lot of colorful, recognizeable characters, unexpected turns of the narrative, of intrigues and very human emotions and feelings... As a representative of women around forty, I was thrilled to find how timely, how topical is the theme of women’s fear of a certain “Fringe”... Thank you for a great work and bring us more fun with your new books!
Book reviews
02.12.2012. sobakajs (livejournal)
Women’s Corporation – a novel, which is quite realisitic, not to say, down-to-earth, and phantasmagoric at the same time. Extremely serious, one can call it “art-house” but extremely funny, even wild. Yes. Wild. Someone would call it obscene, but I am impressed how the author pulls down the masks and removes taboos from many themes prohibited for discussion. How the women get insane from fear to loose their attractiveness of the youth, and get involved in all idiotic adventures with plastic surgeries, liposuctions, paying for young boys. How the men are unhappy with their “wives of the first wave” – one has become a laborholic, the other doesn’t want to have sex anymore, the third one nags her husband 24/7, the fourth has drinking problems unable to keep herself busy. How the young girls, lovers of those men, become only too soon exactly like the wives, although the men obtained these girls formostly in order to escape from the tyranny of the wives. The author revealed – skillfully, sharp, like a snake – many human vices. She did not spare either the biblical themes and explained that God encouraged prohibition of cognition, while the Devil – he pushed the people, women in the first place, towards passion, search and doubts. But the plot is something unthinkable. The talented women, after spending half of their lives in gossiping about the unfairness of the world, which is organized according to men’s rules, have created an insurance society “Beyond the Fringe”. Just read the Charter, it’s worth it! The women of 18-45 pays premiums from the dough, which (quote) “each normal woman receive from men”. Once she goes over “The Fringe”, in other words at menopause – the receive the insurance (a hefty one) and are free to spend it either to continue the “games of the youth”, or to develop their own shareholding society, if by that age they’ve understood that that true power of women is irresistible regardless of the age, and a woman ought only not to allow the society to deprive her of this power, and the society had been doing ever before. Here you’d find the Old Testament, Faust, Dante, Milton, Aristotle, – all of them had contributed to canonization of the men’s superiority. The most frightening is that the women had not only accepted this, but oddly started to believe that this is even convenient… So, using this resource – even scary to say out loud – the women’s menopause the women create a huge corporation. Here start the men’s resistance, their mean competition, the resistance of the “power”, which attempt to encourage the men’s upheaval, and all of the above get mixed into such a deliciously intellectual and hilarious carnival that the “Fringes” – of the reality, of the serious and of buffoonery, of the truth of life and of phantasmagorical – one can hardly see them anymore. Impossible to resist the novel. I strongly recommend.
Reader comments
Nikolay Zlobin, American-Russian political scientist, writer and columnist
Reluctantly, I have started to read “Women’s Corporation”. Reluctance was caused by the lack of time, as I have already learned from the first two books by Kotova that once I start, it would be difficult to stop. This was exactly what happened. In short, congratulations! You don’t stop to surprise me. This time, by having written a book, which theme and style is so different from the first two ones. In short, it’s very good that they’d kicked you out of this f*cking bank, and provided you with an opportunity to write good literature. At least the EBRD President Mirow has done something worthy, if not for you than for us. I never was a fan of women’s prose, but lately started to see that I am less and less satisfied by male writers trying to write about women. They can’t make it believable and natural and, if you wish, too male-oriented. To understand women, one should read female prose. You are just and ideal example of a person, capable of explaining a contemporary successful Russian woman is, with all her pluses and minuses, with all the phantoms in her head, with her husbands, money and personal problems. It’s cool that you manage to explain it intelligently ( I mean the old good Russian language school), delicately, not vulgar and clever. It’s a delight to read your texts regardless of the theme. A phenomenon which come across today not that often. Plus irony, sarcasm, satire, philosophy and even business 101 in one bottle. The pot is robust, the idea is clever, never touched before, the characters are real, even those, who – according to the plot – ought to be mystical. Never thought about this Fringe of women’s life.. Now I see it do much clearly what is happenining to all of you, why you start to get hysterical and jump at us, men, literary and allegorically. At least, having read your book, I would be able to take this phenomenon more rationally. Men perceive themselves and what it brings them in a very different way. But this is already a theme for a male writer. Once again – congrats!!!
Natalia Podsoblyaeva
Elena! Yesterday I turned over the last page of “Women’s Co”. Wonderful, intelligent, dynamic and mostly important — absolutely modern story... A lot of colorful, recognizeable characters, unexpected turns of the narrative, of intrigues and very human emotions and feelings... As a representative of women around forty, I was thrilled to find how timely, how topical is the theme of women’s fear of a certain “Fringe”... Thank you for a great work and bring us more fun with your new books!
Code of dishonor

Code of dishonor

VECHE, 2015
Code of Dishonor A novel by Elena Kotova (Moscow, 2015, publishing house ‘Veche’) This heart-stopping thriller about Russian business elite unfolds in the new millennium. Konstantin Alexandrov, the owner of the largest private Russian bank, prepares a colossal deal with foreign investors. Platon Sklyar, a successful corporate raider with skills worthy of Wall Street, builds a gigantic conglomerate through mergers and acquisitions. He aims not just at self-enrichment, but also at modernizing the obsolete Russian timber industry. Both are the new breed, determined to avoid the customary corporate wars and to overcome the unsavory business practices of the 1990’s. They are driven not just by money, but also by desire to want to give their children a more honorable country than the one in which they made their billions. Their nemesis, Yury Cherniavin tries but fails to elicit Alexandrov’s protection from Sklyar’s hostile take-over of his pulp mill. He is forced to sell his asset to Sklyar. Entrenched in the tit-for-tat mentality, he feels robbed and wants revenge. He exploits the state’s paranoid suspicion of foreigners and uses his crony officials to hinder Alexandrov’s deal with Italian investors. Sklyar’s aggressive acquisitions culminates in a hostile take-over of a landmark pulp enterprise, with raid and shooting, which unleashes a 90’s-style war across the entire northern Russian region. Alexandrov’s bank is the financier of this massive and expensive war. The bank resources get drained and it fell under a prejudiced state scrutiny. Prior to Alexandrov’s happy marriage of 17 years, he loved romantiс girl Lydia. After their split Lydia’s heart was broken and she happened to have married Cherniavin. Her life is miserable, she dreams of sending her two daughters to study in the UK, away from the tyranny of their father. She turns for a help to Alexandrov, and reluctantly confesses that Masha, her oldest, is actually Alexandrov’s daughter. Alexandrov commits to sending all three ladies to London and to pay for the girls’ education. Cherniavin is enraged and goes as far as putting his wife Lydia to a mental hospital. Masha dashes to Alexandrov for help, and they start building friendly trust. Eventually Alexandrov helps Lydia and her daughters to get to London, not without a helping hand from Sklyar, who forced Cherniavin to allow this departure, having blackmailed him. Meanwhile, Sklyar presses Alexandrov to sell the controlling stake to an obscure financial group. Alexandrov does not hold a grudge against Sklyar: it’s only business. But another shock is underway: in Oxford, Masha Cherniavina meets Pavel Sklyar, the son of the mogul. The young people fall in love. Sklyar-father is adamantly against a union between his son and the daughter of Cherniavin. He seeks advice from Alexandrov, not knowing who Masha’s real father is, and this awkward conversation ruins their friendship. The war in the North grows, and Sklyar is tragically killed by a sniper. His son, Pavel and Masha have enough money, and want to have their own life, unencumbered by the “Wild West” of Russian business. Masha expected that Alexandrov would handle the Sklyar empire, but yet another misunderstanding leads her to believe that Alexandrov betrayed her and the memory of his friendship with Sklyar-father. After the loss of his bank, Alexandrov recovers at resorts in Europe. From TV news he learns that the UK police had arrested Cherniavin on allegation of murder of Platon Sklyar. Now it is his duty to tell Masha who her real father is, so that the girl does not live for the rest of her life believing that her father killed the father of her future husband. Masha goes into denial: “How lovely, there were two father scoundrels, now there are three of them”. To her, Sklyar is a raider, Alexandrov is a traitor, and they are hardly better than Cherniavin: they lie, they deceive, they follow rotten practices of the country which Masha only wants to forget. Alexandrov tries to be heard by his daughter. Neither Masha, nor her husband would ever be free from the money of their fathers. This money has bought them a place in a better country. Children are not free to deny their fathers their Code of Honor, and certainly not free to equate them with the likes of Cherniavin. Despite her youth’s maximalist vigor, Masha reluctantly has to accept the Alexandrov’s wisdom: judging and punishing their fathers is not going to make her and Pavel any happier. They both have to live and to cope with the legacy they have. Oddly, it is in this difficult conversation that the reader – unlike the novel’s characters – finds out the whole truth about Sklyar’s death, which was by far a more complicated affair than a traditional Russian contract killing. About the author: Elena Kotova’s path through life is remarkable and unique. She had become a renown writer after a successful career as an economist, later as a prominent international financial figure. Her other major works include: Kashchenko! Notes of a not-a-crazy (2015), bestseller; Half-Life (Period poluraspada) (2014), bestseller, Literary award “The Book of the Year 2015”; Women’s Corporation (Aktsionernoye Obshchestvo Zhenshchin) (2012); Newton’s Third Apple ( Tretje Yabloko Newtona). 2012; Keeping It Easy! (Legko!), bestseller, 2011