Products of Combustion takes place in 2017, in the unnamed capital city of an unnamed Eastern European country at the time of a revolution. The events and the actors are uncannily real: a government that is gradually becoming authoritarian; paralytic opposition politicians on the lef t; violent ones on the far right; and young people who spend their days arguing about politics, going to demonstrations, and are increasingly radicalized. The narrator is a 28-year-old man, a loner and a drif ter, who meets Nikka, a student who is fervently involved in politics, and drags her new boyfriend first to demonstrations, then to clashes escalating after a number of young people die in a fire at a rock concert (an event based on the Colectiv nightclub fire in Bucharest, 2015). The revolution that ensues is modelled on the Euromaidan protest movement in 2014 in Kiev. While the fanatically liberal Nikka fights against oppressive power, oppressively trying to mold her boyfriend’s character, the narrator becomes a fighter in a far-right paramilitary troop. Other characters include the narrator’s brother, a policeman who finds himself on the opposite side of the barricade as his brother; a young intellectual who is transformed into a power-hungry marionette as soon as he rises to power; and an Israeli ex-soldier who leads the neo-Nazi rebels’ brigade.
…but you shouldn’t forget, even in this hugely ecstatic moment, that this is the part of Europe where there never was and never can be freedom except to the extent that it is allowed by the free ones.”
ISBN 978 963 14 3602 0
164 pages, 125×197 mm