Modern Russian novel. «Trying to Outrun Death» — a novel by Sergey Likhachev. Synopsis

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A former orphan, but currently a surgeon ― Ivan Yamshchikov organized a private intensive care center in Samara. There, a team of young doctors created a unique and very effective method of bringing a hopeless patient out of a coma. The brain of the patient was stimulated with images showing the main priorities of his life. The difficult part was, in the course of a day, or even hours, to figure out the life priorities of the patient, make a movie, and transform this highly emotional «motion picture» into a series of electro-chemical signals and deliver the latter to the patient’s brain.

But is it indeed possible, in the course of a day or even hours, to find out the deepest thoughts and feelings of a stranger, and use them for reanimation? It is possible and it should be done. For this purpose, it is important that the process include many professionals from non-medical fields, relatives, friends and acquaintances of the patient. It is vital to work in a cohesive and tough manner, overstepping the societal norms of proper behavior.

There are no doctors in Yamshchikov’s intensive care setting, when it comes to the regular sense of the word. All the participants in the system, make up one «collective doctor». Oh, how good the innovator-intensivists have it.

One stormy March evening, Masha Sablina pushes her way into Yamshchikov’s apartment. Her brother, Ivan Sablin has already been in a coma for a week, and needs help. The events develop quickly. The protagonist falls in love with the strange girl at first sight, and proposes to her. He harnesses a brigade of intensivists and other participants of the «collective doctor»: the patient’s mother, his faithful friends, an unusual bride that rejected Sablin, a drama theater actor as replacement for the patient’s father, the colonel investigating the circumstances that landed the patient in intensive care, the patient’s coworker ― the swindler Khmyrov, the head of the Human Resources department, who fired Sablin citing an unfavorable clause. Yamshchikov also finds an accidental friend of the patient’s ― a new lesbian who fancies herself the new Marlene Dietrich, and whose unintentional behavior pushed Sablin towards his flight down the stairs.

Yamshchikov’s task ― find out the true life priorities of the patient. The «collective doctor» embarks on a real mental overtake. It soon becomes clear that none of those who came or were brought into the intensive care center know for a fact what Sablin’s priorities are. Yes, the man is an open book, who spills the beans right away, but when they dig deeper it turns out that he does not share nearly everything. «Discoveries» emerge one after another. It turns out Sablin already tried taking his life twice. He committed a crime at work, for which he was fired, and a criminal case was started. He is currently not allowed to leave the area. Many other things about Sablin have come to light, to the great disappointment of the confident Masha, and the even more confident mother, as well as inciting anger and a desire for vengeance from his friends. It turned out that the most private was known not by his mother, or sister, or his close friends, but by his former fiancé ― a TV star and overall clever girl. Only after gathering the information bit by bit, while in a constant crossfire and on the brink of fighting and cutting ones’ arms with glass, completely violating the common tactfulness and modesty when it comes to personal feelings and deeds, the «collective doctor» manages to find out the patient’s final priority in one night. A film is made based on the findings, and during the second half of the next day, the reanimation procedure is performed, after which Sablin wakes up.

The happy outcome of the «collective doctor’s» work has encouraged Masha to agree to Yamshchikov’s proposal, and the protagonists spend their first wedding night together, but in a very ceremonious and humorous way.

The author hopes that the image of Masha, Panina, «The Rat», Kesha Polonsky, Russian Linnaeus and Yamshchikov, will grab the reader’s imagination and the subject matter will not vanish from their mind after the completion of the reading. The novel can be continued. At the least, the novel contains precessions for a sequel, in which the main protagonist could, or should be Russian Linnaeus. He will finally build The Museum of Man, and the «collective doctor» will create Pollywood ― a movie studio for reanimation movies. Ideally, such movies should be produced by each person well in advance, in case of a health related catastrophe. The main theme of the sequel is the creation of a human typology for reanimation purposes, by Yamshchikov and his team, while keeping in mind that the treatment with its procedures and medications should we individualized to each type of patient.

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