Eddie is a working-class teenager in 1959 Kharkov. He hangs out with shady characters, but is also a gifted poet, albeit one who uses his talent to distract crowds while his friend picks-pockets. He pursues a local bea...展开uty, Sveta, promising her a date in a restaurant with the implicit assumption that she will repay him sexually. When he catches Sveta kissing his friend, Ed shows up at her flat with a knife, but runs off before she opens the door. He wanders the snowy streets and nearly commits suicide before his mother finds him and has him put in the Saburka, an infamous psychiatric hospital whose patients had included the artist Mikhail Vrubel’ and the futurist poet Velimir Khlebnikov. There Ed bonds with the other maltreated patients, one of whom introduces him to the richness of Russian literature. After a brief escape, during which he climbs a church tower and prays for ‘an interesting life’, Ed is recommitted to the asylum, which prompts his mates to stage a ‘storming’ of the hospital (à la the storming of the Winter Palace in October 1917) in protest. When he is finally released, he has learned hard truths about his place in the world as a son and an artist.