Who is Frunz? Some would say he’s the son of Marianne and Sergei, an unassuming boy discovering Paris from inside his stroller along the Seine. As his parents separate, little Frunz turns inward, then to his Lego blocs for sustenance. He may look harmless and lacking in courage, but don’t be fooled, Little Frunz is a disaster waiting to happen.
As he overcomes his family travails, Frunz grows up to become an architect and decides to leave Paris. He first heads to Moscow, then to Yerevan, where as a university professor, he lectures his students about the principles of good design – and his unremitting love of cement.
Meanwhile, Yerevan is in the middle of a building boom. Wrecking balls swing through the city; cranes punctuate its skyline and cement trucks race through its narrow streets. Its denizens live in slums, outraged at the destruction of the historic city. Most of them have lost their homes to an ominous plan to reinvent the Soviet city.
Yerevan is also a city on the verge of revolution as residents are flushed out of their homes with tragic results. Yet Frunz’s father forges ahead with his urban plan to rebuild the city anew – a city without memory or history.
The Structure is Rotten, Comrade is the collaborative work of Viken Berberian and Yann Kebbi.
Yann’s illustrations have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Guardian, Télérama, Revue XXI, Suddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Condé Nast, Le Monde and La Repubblica.
Viken’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Believer, Inculte: a literary and philosophical journal, and the Financial Times. Viken is the author of the novels, The Cyclist (Simon & Schuster) and Das Kapital: a novel of love & money markets (Simon & Schuster).
“Frunz’s love of cement is contagious.” – Leanne Shapton, author of Swimming Studies
“The Structure is Rotten, Comrade is a painfully beautiful book, throwing in our face some of the saddest human truths.” – Etgar Keret
“Hilariously funny and violent.” – Le Monde, Mathias Enard commenting on The Structure is Rotten, Comrade
“Bike crashes, arguments and bustling crowds are just some of the slightly off-kilter subjects in this unbelievably amazing and varied portfolio from Yann Kebbi.” – Liv Siddall, It’s Nice That
“Deeply creepy and funny and perfectly timed.” – Kirkus review of The Cyclist
“Un chef-d’oeuvre” – Arnaud Viviant, review of Das Kapital, Radio France Inter
“One of the most original American novels of the year. An electric read.” – Tirdad Derakhshani, The Philadelphia Inquirer
“The juxtaposition of finance jargon and poetic language was pioneered by Viken Berberian’s Das Kapital: A Novel of Love and Money Markets, which is doubly impressive in its ability to predict the financial crisis (the book appeared in 2007) and its insight, deeper than Wayne’s, into why Karl Marx’s Das Kapital is especially useful as a shorthand for the entwinement of finance, social relations, and globalization…” – Georgiana Batina, Writing Energy Security After 9/11: Oil, Narrative and Globalization
“A risk taker who allows his imagination free rein.” – The Believer
“If people in American Studies had paid more heed to writers such as Don DeLillo, they would have had to take cognizance of the fact that DeLillo chose to title the last section of his novel Underworld Das Kapital. Viken Berberian’s later novel, Das Kapital, only substantiates the claim that writers have been more perceptive of what was happening in the United States than those for whom the polity is the object of professional work.” – Stripe Grgas, Chair of the American Studies Program, University of Zaghreb
“An inventive and oddly disturbing novel. His satire soars.” – The San Francisco Chronicle review of Das Kapital
“Heaps on profound and frequently witty insight into unexplored territory… It’s a tantalizing trip for the senses that also challenges the sensibilities.” – The Boston Globe