4 out of 5
Originally published in Russian in 1997, Scar by the Dyachenko’s has been translated into English and published this year. It is the story of three young people, a tragedy and revenge. Egert is a loud, abrasive, rich, bully who uses everyone and everything he comes in contact with. His mother fears him, his father rejoices in him. When a student and his fiancee pass through town the young woman catches Egert’s eye. The duel that follows results in a tragedy that will change Egert’s life completely. The first few chapters are told completely from a third person view point which adds to the shallowness of Egert but gives the story a wooden feeling. After the duel there is a subtle switch to what is happening inside Egert’s head and this is when the story comes into its own. The curse of cowardice placed on Egert sends him on a journey to win back his courage and honor and leads him on paths a man of his stature would never have taken. Egert’s transformation is gradual and believable. There is no magic cure. The effects of Egert’s behavior are not limited to his life but also Toria’s life, the young woman who has lost her fiancee. She has wrapped herself in her grief, pain and hate. Added to this is a backdrop of a religion that is losing it’s power and unleashes something dreadful in an attempt to get that power back. I look forward to more from the Dyachenko’s.