- Taschenbuch: 164 Seiten
- Verlag: European Classics; Auflage: Translated (31. März 1995)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0810112000
- ISBN-13: 978-0810112001
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13 x 2,3 x 19,7 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 6 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 282.182 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
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Moscow to the End of the Line (European Classics) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 31. März 1995
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A satirical novel of alcohol, politics, Soviet society, and love. The story of a cable fitter who is fired from his job for charting his co-workers' jobs against the amount of alcohol they have consumed.
In this classic novel of Russian humor and social commentary, a cable fitter is fired from his job after accidentally sending out detailed graphs charting his coworkers' productivity against the amount of alcohol they consumed.
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This novella is situated in a former paradise for alcoholics, the SU under Brezhnev, which had full employment, but also a poor alcohol-related work ethic and -forms of corruption. Serious addicts knew when outlets opened and closed. In lean times they concocted cocktails from unlikely ingredients (four toxic recipes provided).
VE's last day begins with a mega-hangover and a painfully slow, chaotic rush of last-minute purchases. Because for the past 3 years, VE (30) has taken the slow train from Moscow to Petushki (125 km), a journey from hell to heaven, to visit the love of his life and their small boy. After the first of many stops, VY embarks on hangover management, the heroic, daily struggle to keep the first maintenance dose down. It is, once again, succesful and VE is off for a new day of rising high spirits, ready to explain his vision of past, presence and future. It is for readers to savor what follows on the slow train to Petushki. Where VE will finally see the Kremlin...
Smartly plotted with brief chapters covering the legs of the train between stations. VE died from throat cancer a year after his book was finally published in his homeland. He wrote it during working hours in a cable workshop at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport in 1969. It was first published in Israel in 1975, then translated into other languages. Rich, dense and passionate book. Insightful, intriguing and worth reading again.
But (unlike Dante) Erofeev never seems to arrive. As he downs more and more hooch, the story becomes progressively more blotched and incoherent. It culminates in the Passion of Erofeev, in which our poor hero is driven up against the wall of the Kremlin (though whether its the Kremlin in Moscow or Petushki is unclear) and left screwed.
This is a story about mercy. Read it. It is easily one of the best books I've read in the past year. Then pass the word along, because it deserves to be better known.
Erofeev was a gentle, witty drunk, immensely shrewd - he made a hilarious interview subject in a BBCTV documentary in the late eighties, retailing recipes for bizarre cocktails of vodka and air-freshener, despite the fact that cancer had stripped out his vocal cords. I don't know of any other works by him and wish I did. Legend had it he was working on a history of the Jews. Any tips?
The novel consists basically of a long from Moscow to Petushki, where the narrator, an ex-construction foreman who shares the name of the author, plans on meeting his girlfriend and child. "Venichka," as the character is affectionately called, begins the novel waking from a drunken sleep to find more alcohol, and for the rest of the novel gets drunker. His confusions and hallucinations are the true subject of the book. In Erofeev--and he comments on this subject in the book itself--the effect of alcohol is not physical, but spiritual.
Erofeev's novel functions on a number of levels. His humor, as a reviewer notes on the back cover, is the equal of Gogol's. For this reason alone, he merits attention. But "Moscow to the End of the Line" offers more than humor. It illuminates a Russia the Soviet regime tried to cover, and a Russia that Western observers, seeing in the February Revolution a democratic impulse in the Western sense stolen from history by the Bolsheviks, missed as well: the spiritual Russia, Russkaia Dusha, the "Russian Soul." Russians surely needed to hear about Western civil liberties during the Brezhnev era; just as surely, the West, perhaps not irretreivably secular, might as well hear Erofeev.
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