Truth with Ornaments is a gay allegorical novel based on a true story. Two men. One life in exchange for another's to reset hardships to zero with the aftertaste of first love.

From the author: Imagine a book that has the powers to change a die-hard homophobe into an understanding person. I was on my way to Krasnoyarsk from Ekaterinburg when I felt an urge to speak my heart. While it was cold outside (early February in Siberia), I was burning inside.

As there was no one around to pour my soul to, I took a paper and started to write my truth in the dim light of a railway carriage. Over a night, I came out. Later I turned it into a novel, having added some ornaments. When translating it from Russian into English, I kept in my mind that words create understanding and erase ignorance.

For you, my reader, I have found special ones.


Inornate facts about the release and work on Truth with Ornaments

My parents got divorced when I was three. As I grew up, I had no role model to ask numerous questions in my head about how this world was set up, what things to do and what things not to do. I was quite an independent kid growing on the embers of the collapse of the USSR. I remember one particular day at school when I heard older boys laughing at someone not in present and called him a pedic (faggot). On realizing the meaning of that word, I got goosebumps.

Later I knew that the pedic word also was associated with the petukh (rooster) word that a man raped by another man was labeled. The latter word was mainly considered a prison slang but, as more and more Soviet people were being released from the jail, the youth took it into the circulation. If anyone would use them for me, I’d die of fear.

I was about 10 years old when I realized that apart from being an independent kid I was a special kid who cast looks of inquisitive nature not at girls but men. Due to their innocence, for a while, nobody suspected anything wrong. As I matured, the looks were getting less and less innocent to the point that doing math in my head to fight getting hard in a men’s shower one day could fail, and I would be publicly exposed.

Back then, I couldn’t let that happen because it would destroy my life; that was why coming out to my friends and family wasn’t an option. But tension was bottling up and the questions I had asked myself about my identity started ringing louder and louder; no answer followed. Deep in my heart, I knew that it existed so I set off on a journey to my father, into the heart of Siberia.

In the dim light of a train carriage taking me from Ekaterinburg to Krasnoyarsk for the first time in my life I lost control of myself. Call it whatever: I took a notepad and started writing like I was obssessed; words were flowing in torrents accompanied by midnight voices of nuns, soldiers and regular travellers. Time had lost its meaning; I was literally coming out.

In a few hours I would take an intent look into my father’s eyes — the man both close and alien to me (I hadn’t seen him for 22 years) — and realize that I had already found the answer within me. Much later, in the special thanks section of the book I would write: to my father who left me at the age of three. As a boy I hated him for leaving me. As an adult, I thank him for this opportunity to see things as they are and feel the diversity of the world as it is.

Using the episodes from my LGBT experience, I based Truth with Ornaments on a true story to break stereotypes, fears and prejudices about gay people. Originally, it was meant to be an allegorical work of fiction. As it would turn out a bit later, there hid the potential of changing mindsets.

I took a considerable risk giving first copies of the book in Russian to my colleagues because it would make it clear for them that I was gay; like an autumn leaf in the wind, I shivered in anticipation of their reaction. To my relief, it was so good that a die-hard homophobe became a good friend of mine. She told me later that my story made her reconsider her conservative beliefs about gay people to tolerant; we have been friends since her confession.

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