Entering a weird, remote hamlet, Andrei calls himself a simple wayfarer, but he is in fact highly compromised: he has no identity papers. Taken under the wing of the military zone s commander, Andrei is first assigned to guard the blueberries that supply a nearby bear reserve. He is surrounded by human wrecks, supernatural umbrellas, birds carrying plagues, albino twins.
The bears and an affair with a married woman occupy Andrei until his protector is replaced by a new female commander, a slender creature, quiet, diaphanous, like a dragonfly, and yet an iron-fisted harridan. As things grow ever more alarming, Andrei becomes a corpse watchman, standing guard over the dead to check for any signs of life, and then "