As I finished writing Laurus , I told my wife I worked three years on this novel, and now you will read it, and so will my colleagues — but nobody else. It was so far from the mainstream. But it became so popular in Russia, and it received a big literary prize, one that was given previously only to mainstream books. This mistake was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It taught me that despite all the garbage I see in our bookstores or on TV, despite all of this, people need other things to live by. It is an illusion that they need this shit! If somebody has enough courage to speak with another voice, people will read it. The shock was that I asked myself the question: Is Laurus now mainstream?

Liberals and conservatives both liked my book. I tried to say with it that there is another way to live: the way of the saints. It is not an easy way to walk, but maybe we can walk alongside it. I’m not trying to teach people in this book, only to show them what this other way looks like. You know, maybe it was easier in the first ages of Christianity than it is now in our post-Christian culture. Nobody knew about Christianity back then. These people, these first Christians, brought the fire of a new faith, of a new religion. Now everybody knows everything, and gets very angry if somebody tries to explain something to them. In modern times, I think we need a new language to talk about such things.

— speaking to Rod Dreher here