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This is a book about all the magical new things that you can discover if you're brave enough to break out of your boring routine and take a fresh look at the world around you. But this is also a story about love. Passionate, selfless love. That may seem ridiculously naive in today's world... So be it. It's a book about how, whatever trials life may have in store for you, if at heart you are a romantic, if you know how to love, then everything will work out. From up on the roof, you can see everything. You can see life scurrying below you, and see it with a calm objectivity. No prejudices, no assumptions. That's what Max, the compelling narrator does: even when he is not sitting on a rooftop, he looks at life with intelligent curiosity, amiable openness and good-humoured equanimity. Max is not only a great companion for the reader - a calm presence at the centre of events - but the perfect lens through which to see a hidden world. Through Max we meet a succession of intriguing characters-artists and dreamers with their own unique perspectives on life and formulas for happiness: Viktor, the photographer who finds beauty in the mundane; inscrutable Tanya, whose mystery attracts Max as much as her smile; Mutt, an artist who lost ability to see people around him and lives in a disappearing tower; Oxana, forever entangled in spontaneous and dangerous affairs; Gray, connoisseur of street-art and magic. And, at the centre of it all, the enigmatic Lady F, who appears out of nowhere to give Max little bits of comfort and advice. Her clairvoyant yet cryptic intimations lead Max, and us, through a procession of coincidences, adventures, and miraculous escapes. Who is she? Guardian angel, Lady Luck, hallucination? Whoever she is, her wry and wise interchanges with Max are one of the novel's real pleasures. Whispers of magic get louder and louder, but, thanks to Kostin's clear and sober prose, with its amused detachment and adroit lyrical touches, we never stray into the world of fantasy or stock-in-trade magic realism.

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