Book review: The King of FU by Benjamin Davis

Thank you very much to Sara at THE BIBLIOPHAGIST for her review of The King of FU. Both Nikita and I greatly appreciate it.

The Bibliophagist

The King of FU by Benjamin Davis
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 25, 2018
Source: Free copy from author

The King of FU is a magically realistic poetic memoir about growing up in America in the nineties on the cusp of the age of the internet. It is a voyage that navigates through family tribalism, supervisors, white-gloved Sheriffs, bullies, sex, suicide, dead prisoners, drugs, porn, middle school, and Jesus; all in search of answering one of life’s greatest mysteries: what is the point of adults? This artistic masterpiece comes from the mind of author Benjamin Davis with illustrations by Russian artist Nikita Klimov.

I always feel a little bit weird when I review poetry, because who am I to say whether it’s good or not? And especially this kind of poetry, which focuses on the author’s childhood and his experiences as he grew up…

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The Babushka Society | Radio Drama

The Babushka Society | Radio Drama


The Babushka Society!


Last month we worked with She’s in Russia, a podcast based out of Saint Petersburg to create a Radio-Drama rendition of The Babushka Society. Written by me, artwork by Nikita Klimov and featuring my brother Elliot as BABA YAGA.

What exactly would happen if you ran into Baba Yaga in present day St. Petersburg? Come along with B and N on their adventure through the city.



Being an American Expat in Russia

Being an American Expat in Russia

I have been writing articles about life in Russia for Russia Beyond over the past few months, so I thought I’d leave them here for anyone who is interested:

Why Russians and Americans Are NOT that different

“The U.S. president is a bombastic, overweight businessman. Russia’s president is a lean and tough looking former intelligence officer who allows himself to be photographed shirtless. The preposterous manner how media portray these two leaders have fueled misconceptions that are ubiquitous among the people of both countries.”


Three Insane Conversations I’ve had with my Russian Girlfriend

“I don’t need your opinion!”
“Then why ask for it?”
She gave me a look that sends me back to my childhood, when the whole world was a mystery and I was the only one who seemed to know nothing. She looked, and she said, “I don’t need your opinion, I need you to reaffirm my opinion.”


Lost in Translation: Why one American Writer Often Feels like a Dog in Russia

“They were yelling all sorts of things in Russian that I couldn’t hear through the blood in my ears. There were any number of wonderful things that I might have said, like “Hey! stop! What are you doing? What is going on! We aren’t criminals! I am a dog! I am a dog!” but I was at a loss for words.”


How Russians Changed my Life

” I knew I must know something interesting. I must. I knew philosophy and literature and I genuinely enjoy 80s music. But, I couldn’t find anything to say. As I searched, I realized there was nothing to find; that I’d put it away somewhere. I’d put it away in some dark closet filled with the birthdays of unlikeable cousins and every math class I’d ever taken. Worse still, as I explored, I found that I’d been replacing all of those thoughts with new ones; chic ones, ready-made IKEA-style thoughts about How I Met Your Mother and the names of every Marvel character’s alter ego.”


Three Reasons You’re Not Funny in Russia

“Russians smile. Russians smile quite often, some smile big, some are all lips about it, some have an adorable gap between their front two teeth that they are sometimes embarrassed about, and sometimes see as a point of pride. Russians also laugh. They laugh quite loud and sometimes it is a bit annoying, sometimes it is infectious, and sometimes it fills a room.”


Three Things you Should Worry About in Russia

“If you’re coming to Russia, bring small bills and hold onto your change. For two years I’ve been in a passive aggressive war with the woman who runs the shop down the road because once I paid for beer with a 5,000 RUB note.
She remembers, always.”



Editorial Review – The King of Fu

New review of ‘The King of FU’ is on Book Review Directory.

The Book Review Directory

Title: The King of Fu

Author: Benjamin Davis

Genre: Memoir / Magical realism / Coming of age

The kingdom of Fu is the unique backdrop Benjamin Davis uses to share the beginning of his life story. Divided into three parts–umbilical cords, childhood, and adolescence–The King of Fu is a reflection of his feelings about everything from his relationships with his family members to death, sex, and pornography and focuses on the question of what it means to be an adult.

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New poem of mine just published over at Hijacked Amygdala. Check it out and let me know what you think.

hijacked amygdala

my dad never runs from bees
but I run from bees
does that mean I am not a man?

bees are small and evil little yellow and black things
that cause you pain
but everyone still wants to save them

I want to kill them all
but if we kill them all we all also
this is called nature
it sucks
it is an absurdist joke in bad taste

I was outside of a wedding when it happened
the bee
I ran from it
an old woman watched me
and I could see in her eyes she thought

“that’s not a man”

and I thought
bees are dumb
this is dumb
everything is dumb

why aren’t you running from the bee
you crazy old bitch

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We’ve been working on putting all of the stories I wrote for Flash-365 project that are based in Russia into a book of Magical Realism in Saint Petersburg. As a preview, for those of you who are interested, it includes a new translation of “Сigarettes, Coins, and The Water of Life”, my very first story about the day I came to Russia.

Сигареты, монеты и вода жизни

Я попал в это место в животе серой птички родом из Европы. Она выплюнула меня прямо на тротуар. М встретил меня там.

«Возьми, они пригодятся тебе», – он протянул мне пачку сигарет. Мы выкурили по одной, пока ждали автобус.

Невысокий мужчина, неразборчиво стуча зубами под своим шарфом, подошел к нам на остановке.  Я посмотрел на М. Он протягивает ему сигарету. Мужчина быстро отбирает ее своей когтистой лапой, падает на все четыре и удирает прочь.

«Что это было?» ­– испуганно спрашиваю я.

«Если ты дашь им сигарету, они никогда тебя не побеспокоят»

«Что случится, если ты не дашь?»

«Я не хочу проверять на себе», – серьезно сказал М. Мы встаем со скамейки на остановке, все еще ожидая автобус.

«Они тебе тоже понадобятся» – он насыпал несколько монет мне в руку.

«Для чего?» ­– спросил я.


Автобус приехал. Большой валун в желтом комбинезоне направляется в нашу сторону, едва мы заходим внутрь. Выжидающее лицо выкрашено розовой краской. М высыпает горстку монет в ее потрескавшуюся протянутую ладонь. Я делаю то же самое.

М и я особо не знали друг друга перед тем, как решили жить вместе.  Поэтому поездку на автобусе, поезде и осле, а затем и прогулку до квартиры, мы провели, разнюхивая задницы друг друга. Это продолжилось и во время экскурсии по квартире, ужина в конце нашей улицы и бутылки крепкого напитка, который русские называют водкой.

Все закончилось, когда М с затуманенным взглядом признал, что у него есть одна проблема.

«У меня есть одна проблема», ­– сказал он. Когда я начал рассказывать свою историю об уходе за наркозависимыми, он поставил на стол маленький синий флакон между нами.

«Я умираю. Каждую ночь»

«Что?» – переспросил я.

«Я умираю» – он перерезает свое горло пальцем и драматично высовывает язык.

«Ага, как так получилось?»

«Около месяца назад я попал в аварию на мотоцикле и умер. Моя мама совершила своего рода сделку за эту штуку, – он потряс маленькой синей бутылочкой. – поэтому я вернулся назад. Но мне приходится принимать это каждый день»

«Что это?»

«Она зовет это водой жизни…, или смерти, или что-то такое»

«Понятно» – сказал я, задумываясь о том, во что я себя втянул.

«Ага, мне нужно добавлять несколько капель этой вещицы в свой утренний кофе и, хм, это возвращает меня к жизни. Потом мне нужно пить это в течение дня. Это не так плохо, как звучит. Знаешь людей, которые постоянно должны принимать все эти таблетки от диабета? Это почти то же самое, но не так плохо. Всего лишь одна доза»

Он улыбнулся. Я улыбнулся в ответ.

Я пошел спать.

Он умер.