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Set in the vast Kazakh steppes of the crumbling Soviet Empire, Oleg Pavlov's kaleidoscope tale is peopled with soldiers and prisoners, hoboes and refugees and mice that steal medicines. Poetic, tragic and darkly comic, the novel is at once a grotesque portrayal of late Soviet reality and an apocalyptic allegory in the vein of Faulkner and Kafka.
Captain Khabarov waits out his service at an isolated camp where the rations turn up already rotten - until one Spring he decides to plant potatoes to feed his starving men. This blackly comic novel - the first by Solzhenitsyn Prize-winner Oleg Pavlov - shows the unsettling consequences of thinking for yourself under the Soviet system.
Daleki predjeli SSSR-a s logorima, stepom, strazarskim tornjevima zastrasujuce su mjesto za mladog novaka u ruskoj vojsci. Iako nije dugo izdrzao u Karagandi kao zatvorski cuvar, Oleg Pavlov je na temelju vlastitog iskustva napisao briljantnu trilogiju o zivotu ruskog vojnika u posljednjim desetljecima 20. stoljeca. U Drzavnoj bajci progovara o sustavu u kojem cak i uzgoj krumpira moze postati djelo zbog kojeg se naposljetku izgubi glava. Matjusinov slucaj prati mlaA eg sina bezdusnog zapovjednika u pokusaju da se dokaze ocu prijavljujuci se u vojsku unatoc hendikepu. U Karagandinskim devetinama, ili povijesti posljednjih dana opisuje se mladi vojnik koji pred kraj sluzbe dospijeva u ljeciliste i premda je zdrav, u konacnici jedva izvuce zivu glavu. Kako su zakljucili kriticari, dok se ne procita Ruska trilogija Olega Pavlova, ne moze se ni zamisliti koliko je ruska vojska krajem 20. stoljeca nisko pala.
In the vast Kazakh steppes of the crumbling Soviet Empire, Alyosha has finished his army service and is promised a gift from his deaf commander: an everlasting steel tooth. As he waits for it in the infirmary, he agrees to help out a medical officer, and they set out on a journey that takes them all the way to the kingdom of the dead. Oleg Pavlov's kaleidoscope of a tale is peopled with soldiers and prisoners, hoboes and refugees and mice that steal medicines. Their surreal inner world is vividly reflected in Pavlov's expressive prose, reminiscent of Platonov. Poetic, tragic and darkly comic, the novel is at once a grotesque portrayal of late Soviet reality and an apocalyptic allegory that has drawn comparisons with Faulkner and Kafka.
The Matiushin Case is one of the darkest and most powerful works of fiction to appear in Russian in the last twenty years. Deriving, like Captain of the Steppe (2013, And Other Stories), from Oleg Pavlov's own traumatic experience as a conscript in the last years of the Soviet Union, it follows the ordeals of Matiushin, a sensitive, disoriented young man, damaged by brutality first within his family and then in the army. Indebted to the 'labour camp writing' traditions pioneered by Solzhenitsyn and Shalamov, the novel is much more than an expose of society's ills. Its greatest achievement lies in the tension between the horrific realities of conscript life and the uniquely dreamlike, timeless style through which Pavlov portrays them. Matiushin's 'crime and punishment' emerge from this tension with compelling inevitability; the victim turns killer. The hell that Pavlov describes is real and societal, but above all psychological, and, as such, no less universal than that described by Dante or Dostoevsky.
It was easy to fall into Karabas, as easy as falling down a hole, but it was hard, to put it bluntly, to get out again. Never mind the zeks, even the soldiers were exiled ...' Deep in the desolate steppe, Captain Khabarov waits out his service at a camp where the news arrives in bundles of last year's papers and rations turn up rotting in their trucks. The captain hopes for nothing more from life than a meagre pension and a state-owned flat. Until, one Spring, he decides to plant a field of potatoes to feed his half-starved men ...This blackly comic novel shows the unsettling consequences of thinking for yourself under the Soviet system. Oleg Pavlov's first novel, published when he was only 24, Captain of the Steppe was immediately praised for its chilling but humane and hilarious depiction of the Soviet Empire's last years. The first in a trilogy, this novel already confirms Pavlov as a worthy successor to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
From the first pages it becomes apparent that Asystole is a novel about love of life in its purest, instinctive and intimate form. It's also a novel about human faith in its existence and a desire to experience this love. Author Oleg Pavlov places his character - a boy who grows to be a man and is clearly personified by the writer's own outlook on life - in impossible and familiar circumstances, impossible not to relate to.An adult is shaped in childhood. Chaotic, anxious and at the same time withdrawn narration seems to have no direction and no resolution. Except that the life of the people, who are in fact children of a broken destiny, is real and not much needs to be said to make it our own. Laconic and 'to the point' observations of Pavlov's protagonist as he goes, are chilling at times. They pierce through flesh right to the bone - the quality only the naked truth can have.Asystole is moreover about the by-stander effect, about a disconnected and malfunctioning society and a struggle of one not to merge into the faceless mass of many. Modern, deeply thought through and heartfelt, this novel is an examination of the physics of human soul. Pavlov's Universe has a special arrangement - if it was up to him, humans wouldn't be allowed in it, for the privilege of being human requires living up to the title.