Droht der Thrill der Erzählung angesichts eingeschobener Reflexionen und Beschreibungen verloren zu gehen, folgt eine Sexszene. Alissa Ganijew zieht dabei alle Register der diesbezüglich reichen russische Sprache und tut das mit der Dezenz einer Erzählung für Erwachsene (so wird Porno in Russland umschrieben). Der Sarkasmus, mit dem „Verletzte Gefühle“ einem Land beikommt, in dem die Realität ständig alle Fiktion überbietet, macht „Verletzte Gefühle“ aber immerhin zu etwas wie Dostojewskij en miniature – eine höchst beachtliche Leistung.

Der Falter 

Alissa Ganijewa scheut in ihrem Roman über einen provinziellen Sündenpfuhl keine Kolportage.

Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung

Bride and Groom, the tale of a young couple torn between the drive for freedom and the respect of their families, is sensitive, compelling and funny: there’s an uncle sent to the camps for boasting that his penis is more powerful than Stalin himself, and a grandmother who tells the bride-to-be to use Elastoplast to avoid nose wrinkles.

The Guardian, Viv Groskop

Ganieva hangs the suspense of the narrative: in her hands, every word changes what the future can be, or whether it can even exist.

Hilah Kohen and Josephine von Zitsewitz (Words Without Borders, USA)

Set in a Dagestani village, this incisive novel explores conflicts between tradition and modernisation through the lens of tussling approaches to marriage – it’s a love story with more twists & turns than most.

Global Literature in Libraries about Ganieva’s Bride and Groom (USA)

Ganieva’s novel grapples with the powerlessness of its protagonists amidst old social (and political) structures that persist in a new post-Soviet age of faux democracy and social media.

The Moscow Times about Bride and Groom and The Mountain and the Wall

Readers (Americans in particular) would do well to acknowledge what the novel beautifully illustrates: that there are many different Islams, each infused with local particularities, and that it is often impossible to tell truth from heresy, self from other/God, spiritual guide from charlatan.

Ruchama Johnston-Bloom about Bride and Groom

It is a work that can taste the fascinating and intense narrative of Russia. This work awakens the world's largest continent, which has been forgotten since the 90's.

Future of Korea about Offended Sensibilities (Republic of Korea)

A story of two young people who return home to Dagestan from Moscow to satisfy their families’ insistence that they marry. Both are forced to balance their respect for tradition with their cosmopolitan understanding of love and romance, but as much as they try, their individual stories are mere fodder for the dysfunctional social order built on systemic corruption and terror.

The World Literature Today journal (USA)

Ganieva has both expanded the capacity of the Russian language in her prose and used her public platform as an author to advocate for important political causes.

The Baltic-based Meduza

Selv om hun er del av en politisk dreining i russisk litteratur, skiller hun seg likevel ut blant samtidsforfattere.

Ingunn Lunde, professor i russisk (Norway)

What was background now becomes foreground: the corruption, the state repression, the simmering conflict between the two mosques in town, but also the Sufi mysticism that infuses the book.

Globe and Mail (Canada)

Ganieva’s writing is visual: the characters and settings come easily to the mind’s eye. If a film script is not in the offing, someone should consider it. (It has already been adapted for radio by the BBC.)

The Asian Review of Books (Hong Kong)

Moreover, as a woman writer, Ganieva injects a different gender dynamic into the Caucasus narrative.

Los Angeles Review of Books (USA)

As writers, we shouldn’t dismiss politics and imagine we can retreat into a realm of pure aesthetic forms but instead should do as Alisa Ganieva does and consciously use aesthetics as a form for our politics.

The Kenyon Review (USA)

Ganieva’s writing is consistently witty and energetic, crafting an appropriately complicated image of a place and people united and divided by tradition and progress, old grudges and new unions.

Publishers Weekly

Ganieva explores Dagestan’s most urgent socio-political issues – highlighting ‘nepotism, corruption, gang-clans rule, unemployment, intra-Muslim religious clashes’ – not only to provide a window into a poorly understood area, but to highlight the complications of a region in transition. The book’s central characters, Marat and Patya, must decide whether to pursue a life on their own in Moscow or bend to the desires and expectations of their parents and wider communities in Dagestan, where arranged marriages are the norm.

Culture Trip

Rather than crafting a character study or a love-at-first-sight romance (though the novel includes elements of both), Ganieva attempts to encapsulate Dagestan’s complexities, interrogating its customs, politics, and religion.

The Full Stop

Bride and Groom is a nice little novel of contemporary Dagestan life, Ganieva's light touch allowing for a low-key but still very revealing socio-cultural profile. A consistently humorous touch, and the weaving in of Sufi-tradition – explained more fully by Ganieva in her Afterword – make for a sprightly novel.

Complete Review

Ganieva leads the narrative into some unexpected places, grappling with the weight of history and questions of corruption along the way. In an afterword to this edition, Ganieva also explores the influence of Sufism on her novel — one more layer in a meticulously arranged narrative.

The Words without Borders

Ganieva conjures up a colourful world full of strange, comic and menacing characters that feel like they came out of a literary cross between Goodfellas and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

The Guardian (UK)

On the face of it, then, a conventional tale, but Ganieva sets Patya and Marat in a world riddled with superstition and ancient folklore as well as gangs of young Muslim men protecting their territory. Marat visits a fortune-teller; Patya talks to her grandmother over the samovar. Every action, no matter how insignificant, has a meaning. The Welsh accents of the Dagestanis make it hard to believe we are in deepest Russia but the drama has a mythic quality, as if we are hearing stories told for generations, characters trapped in history yet also very much of the present.

The Spectator (UK)

Yes, Ganieva is touted as the first Dagestani author to appear in English — this is truly a cause for celebration! But let that not overshadow her merits as a writer: that she is unafraid of depicting alienated, imperfect people whose purpose is to expose those universal paradoxes we hold dear. Bride and Groom is funny and perceptive and concept-dense, which proves to be a winning combination. I want more.

Asymptote (USA)

Undeniably well-written, her clear commitment is to creating dialogue between Russia and its own peripheries.

The Calvert Journal (UK)

Raised in a nonreligious household in Dagestan, a mountainous republic in Russia’s North Caucasus region, Alisa Ganieva has aimed to write in clear-eyed fashion about her homeland, a region that has been racked by violence fueled by criminal and clan elements and an Islamic insurgency. Her long story Salam, Dalgat! aims a merciless lens on a Dagestani town roiling with drug gangs, Islamic fundamentalists, water-supply breakdowns, burning garbage cans, abusive police officers and women fawning over Gucci knockoffs.

The Washington Post (USA).

Salam, Dalgat! is a lively account of today's Dagestan, where the nomenclature corruption multiplies to result in social problems, unemployment matches the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, which interferes with the gadgets of modernity - Mercedes-Benz cars, prostitutes and drug addicts.

BBC Radio (UK).

Alisa Ganieva is not a tightrope-walker, but is similarly gifted with a rare talent to suspend disbelief and traverse gaping chasms. Brought up in the capital of Dagestan, Makhachkala, Ganieva mines intimate knowledge of her homeland. She combines this with the sophistication of a wordsmith who confesses to identifying firmly with Russian culture, while acknowledging the rich traditions of her Avar Dagestani roots.

Critical Muslim (UK).

At first, the Republic of Dagestan, in spite being a very real region at the southwestern tip of Russia, seems far away and utterly unreal. Perhaps that is because, Ganieva's debut novel, published and translated by Deep Vellum, is one of the first books set in this part of the world published in English. Or perhaps that is because of Ganieva's writing, which has a kind of magic.

Dallas Observer (USA).

Alisa Ganieva, 26, wrote about her native Dagestan, a mountainous region rocked by Islamist insurgency. She told me that religious extremism has become a form of rebellion among the youth, as fashionable as a trendy nightclub.

Boston Globe (USA).

The circumstance surrounding the terrorism and counter-terrorism campaigns deeply impacts the characters in Alisa Ganieva’s work. As The Mountain and the Wall accurately depicts, it is not the number of fighters or the ideology that provides the Salafist extremists their strength but the state’s failures to care for its people

International Policy Digest (USA).

Ganieva is very courageous to write about what is happening in her native country, thinly veiled in the traditional Russian literary use of fiction.

Open Democracy (UK).

Alisa Ganieva’s The Mountain and the Wall (2015) is one of those novels that reminds us why reading world literature can be so compelling.

World Literarure Today (USA).

One of the privileges of working in a bookshop is the discovery of new writers and new literary landscapes—and being able to pass on these discoveries to you lovely folks. This novel from Dagestan certainly does the trick. Ganieva’s polyphonic book has been making waves on the continent and looks set to provoke equal amounts of debate and excitement here. This is a portrait of a society fragmenting into violent ethnic and ideological divisions, where the voices of moderation are at risk of being drowned out by extreme interpretations of religious doctrine. It is a plea for plurality and humanism and a celebration of the cultural diversity of Dagestan. Vivid, timely, gripping, and really quite magical, it cements Ganieva’s position as one of the most exciting young voices in Russian fiction.

Staff Picks, Foyles bookstore in London (UK).

Salam, Dalgat! (Hello Dalgat) a short story translated in this first collection of young literary prizewinners, is a powerful glimpse of a generation of young Dagestanis who live on a tightrope in a region torn by violence. Survival is based on a set of skills, mostly skills of evasion to avoid the worst fate. The worst fate seems unknowable, but could involve criminals, the police, prostitution or the Imam and his devotees proclaiming violent jihad.

Russia Now (USA).

People interrupt, talk over each other, insult one another. Through Ganieva their voices are passionate, clear. Some families survive the arguments, others fracture; some people change beliefs, others are resolute.

Full Stop (USA).

The Mountain and the Wall is broad and sweeping in its historical consciousness, its mythologizing, and its narrativizing–its ability to make some of the most mundane acts the basis of an engrossing story. Ganieva achieves this in a story that takes place over the course of a couple of days in Dagestan, a country of about three million people on the Caspian Sea.

My Crash Course (USA).

This year, as I watched wide-eyed and drop-jawed the deeds and choices of my fellow humans, I read books that probe the alarming sensation of impotence in the face of inertia.

Alisa Ganieva’s The Mountain and the Wall, translated from the Russian, struck me as eerily portentous.

Asymptote (USA)

Overall, though, The Mountain and the Wall is a book I’d recommend, as much for the exotic (?) setting as for the story. A well-written insight into a foreign land, Ganieva’s novel shows the western reader a completely different side of Russia, one few of us would have encountered before. It’s just another example of why we need translation – and more women in translation, of course…

Tony’s Reading List (USA).

Im Dagestan der dort aufgewachsenen Autorin Alissa Ganijewa, selbst erst Anfang 30, spielen noch die Religion, lokale Banden und die Unterdrückungsgeschichte mit Russland hinein - die Namen mögen fremd sein, doch die Grundkonflikte sind vertraut und die Pointen dieses turbulenten Romans treffen.

Spiegel (Germany).

Schon damals stach die junge Alissa Ganijewa als erfrischende und gewitzte Stimme aus dem Verbund aufgekratzter Jungautoren heraus. Nun, nach der Lektüre von Eine Liebe im Kaukasus, ihrem zweiten ins Deutsche übertragenen Roman, muss man festhalten: An dieser Autorin führt kein Weg vorbei.

Die Zeit (Germany).

Noch vor wenigen Jahren galt Tschetschenien als Laboratorium für Terroristen – heute hat das benachbarte Dagestan diese Rolle übernommen. Die gnadenlosen Einsätze der russischen Anti-Terror-Einheiten treiben immer mehr junge Männer in die Arme der militanten Islamisten, und die im zweiten Tschetschenien-Krieg völlig zerstörte Stadt Grosny zeigt, wo dieser Weg endet. Alissa Ganijewa schildert in ihrem Roman „Die russische Mauer“, zwischen hartem Realismus und einer bedrückenden Traumsphäre wechselnd, die entscheidenden Wendepunkte einer furchterregend aktuellen Apokalypse.

Tagesspiegel (Germany).

Ganijewa, welche Rolle die zunehmend militanten Islamisten spielen, was passiert, wenn sich Islam und Altkommunismus argumentativ verbünden und wie dabei besonders der Spielraum für junge Frauen immer enger wird.

Frankfurter Allgemeine (Germany).

Die junge Autorin Alissa Ganijewa lebt in Moskau und schreibt über ihre Heimat, Dagestan. In ihren Romanen schildert sie einen spannungsgeladenen Nordkaukasus mit frommen Lügnern und verunsicherten Säkularen.

Die Presse (Germany).

Ganijewa nutzt die Szene, um den Irrwitz von Aberglauben und Hokuspokus ad absurdum zu führen.

Neuen Zürcher Zeitung (Switzerland).

Alissa Ganijewa gelingt es, ein Panorama einer verwirrten, überhitzten und latent gewalttätigen Gesellschaft zu entwerfen, in der die Jungfräulichkeit nach wie vor den zentralen Wert einer Heiratskandidatin bildet (und ihrer gesamten Sippe!), diese Kandidatinnen aber ganz modern ihr Profil ins Internet stellen, damit sich interessierte Männer vor dem ersten Rendezvous schon ein Bild machen können. Ganijewa selbst, heute eine der profiliertesten kritischen Intellektuellen Russlands, hatte übrigens ihre erste Erzählung aus dem Alltag Dagestans unter einem männlichen Pseudonym veröffentlicht, weil es undenkbar war, dass eine junge Frau sich, wie sie es tat, mit Strassenszenen beschäftigte.

Tages-Anzeiger (Switzerland).

Alissa Ganijewas Prosa ist von dieser Polyphonie geprägt. Sie lässt die Menschen ihres Heimatlands in einem vielstimmigen Chor selbst zu Wort kommen. Einem symbolisch aufgeladenen Literaturraum namens Kaukasus setzt sie einen differenzierten Innenblick aus der Gegenwart speziell eines Landes entgegen: der Gegenwart Dagestans.

Radio Deutschlandradiokultur (Germany).

Es ist ein beunruhigendes Bild, das Alissa Ganijewa da in temporeichen Szenen und hitzigen Dialogen hineinzeichnet in das baumlose Flachland am Rande des Kaspischen Meers. Zwischen die rostigen Pipeline-Rohre, die ärmlichen Baracken und die Eisenbahngleise, die die namenlose Siedlung nicht nur räumlich teilen: Der soziale Zusammenhalt ist zerstört. Stattdessen herrscht ein feindliches Klima, genährt vor allem von den vernagelten Eiferern in den konkurrierenden Moscheen, aber auch von tief sitzenden Konventionen und blühender Doppelmoral, von Aberglaube und Gerüchten. Alissa Ganijewa schildert die Siedlung und ihre Bewohner als ideologisch engstirnige Gesellschaft, die keinen Platz kennt für Nonkonformisten.

SWR2 Radio (Germany).

Ganijewas schwarzhumoriger Roman leicht und gibt, erweitert durch ein Nachwort der Übersetzerin, Einblicke in das Leben der nur wenig bekannten Republik Dagestan.

Kommbuch (Austria).

Ganieva utilizza l’andamento narrativo come un macchinario che mette ordine, che mostra le analogie dove non si vedevano e che progressivamente collega strati sociali, personaggi, vicende apparentemente disomogenee. È un libro di montaggio, combinatorio. All’inizio viene gettata una rete che si allarga a più personaggi, addirittura a più generazioni. Poi questa rete viene tirata: inizia a raccogliere. I personaggi si scontrano. Le generazioni si incrociano. Il presente si chiarisce e diventa più facile fare una previsione sul futuro. Quella tensostruttura di realismo e fantasia distopica è l’esito coerente dell’andamento narrativo della Montagna in festa.

La Balena Bianca (Italy).

Alisa Ganieva ha immaginato, prima di Houellebecq e di Sansal, l'irrompere dell'estremismo coranico in realtà occidentalizzate. Ambientato in Daghestan, il suo è un romanzo-romanzo, con un vero intreccio e una folla di personaggi.

La Lettura (Italy).

Aile baskısı mı, koca baskısı mı? Şer cephesi devlet yapıları mı, kılıcından kan damlayan mücahitler mi? Bütün rejimlerin ilk önce ve her zaman kadınlarla uğraştığının vesikasıdır bu roman. Ganieva anlattıkça daha çok dinlemek istiyorsunuz.

CNN (Turkey).

İki yol var: Kaçıp gitmek ya da kalıp şeriata koşulsuz teslim olmak... Asyaüçüncüsünü seçiyor, kalıp başkaldırmak! Rusya’daki pek çok edebiyat ödülünü toplayan Alisa Ganiyeva, ‘Bayram Dağı’ romanında ‘harikalar diyarı’ Dağıstan’ın bugününü anlatıyor.

Radikal (Turkey).

Dans son récit, Alissa Ganieva soulève le thème particulièrement sensible du banditisme parmi les wahhabites daghestanais, suscitant une grande résonance, mais aussi de la colère et du mécontentement. Au Daghestan, d'où est originaire Alissa Ganieva, c'est une honte d'écrire de telles choses lorsqu'on est pieuse musulmane. Mais c'est justement l'absence du sentiment de peur qui a fait de cette téméraire jeune femme un grand écrivain. Alissa, elle, répond sur le site russe Openspace que « les réactions déchaînées, surtout négatives, à mes débuts, les nombreuses lettres reçues des Daghestanais et des autres, les critiques, verbales ou écrites, de nature et niveaux différents, tout cela m'a tellement appris : sans le prix « Début », je n'aurais sans doute jamais osé me révéler comme écrivaine ».

La Russie d'Aujourd'hui (France).

“Cosas así” son los avatares de una sociedad que Ganíeva dice haber retratado fielmente: mezcla de nostalgia comunista, corrupción postsoviética y radicalismo islámico.

El Pais (Spain).

Ganíeva muestra cómo el terror no surge como un fenómeno aislado, sino que se integra en la sociedad y es el fruto de los conflictos entre etnias y clases que se arrastran desde hace décadas porque el gobierno no los ha sabido gestionar.

Devoradora de libros (Spain).

Ganíeva no ha prescindido en su narración de la magia y la sabiduría populares, ni de los colores, los olores o la riqueza lingüística, necesarios para entender el retrato de la sociedad en la que ha crecido, y que se muestra ante nosotros vital y colorista, familiar y dicharachera, a pesar del velo oscuro que la cubre a los ojos de los demás.

El Buscalibros (Spain).

Poderes fácticos aparte, son ellos los primeros en querer alejarse del ring ideológico. Según Gula, seudónimo masculino de la escritora de origen caucásico Alisa Ganíeva, su prosa «rechaza cualquier autoridad porque termina generando una soledad poco deseada. La autoridad no lee y, por tanto, no va a escucharnos a través de la literatura», se justifica quien considera que en Rusia el movimiento 15-M «solo sería posible en los libros, nunca en la vida real».

ABC (Spain).

Al principio resulta gratificante leer la descripción que hace Alisa Ganíeva de una sociedad plural, viva, en la que conviven diversas sensibilidades y con un irresistible encanto oriental, aunque desde el primer momento se intuye que hay algo a punto de romperse. Pero es reconfortante comprobar que no todo son lo que lo personajes llaman “barbudos”, islamistas radicales. Pero es una sociedad en ebullición constante, un pueblo que todo lo discute y todo vehementemente. Sin embargo resulta desesperanzador contemplar la evolución hacia el desgobierno primero y hacia el extremismo después de unos personajes a los que uno ha conocido previamente. No es lo mismo comprobar algo que uno sabe por verlo en un periódico que leyéndolo a través de unos personajes a los que el talento de Alisa Ganíeva ha convertido en algo nuestro.

Libros y literature (Spain).

Amb una extensió poc més gran que l’Aragó, el Daguestan compta amb trenta-dues llengües oficials. Una de les més emprades és l’àvar, la llengua familiar de l’autora. Tal com explica Ganíeva, en un primer moment va plantejar-se escriure per difondre una quotidianitat que li feia l’efecte que era ben desconeguda no ja només a Occident, sinó fins i tot a Rússia. Aquesta realitat és plena d’elements interessants: conflictes nacionals, interpretacions polaritzades de l’islam, xoc de civilitzacions, cosmovisions i tradicions antagòniques, etc. Amb les seves obres, Ganíeva vol ajudar-nos a entendre aquesta quotidianitat.

VilaWeb (Spain).