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Maybe the best book about Brezhnev s Russia imaginable If you are the kind of person who has ever got drunk with friends, stormed a police station and then declared war on Norway then you will find much here that is familiar.It s a book rich in allusion starting from the title Moscow to Petushki and structure, which is reminiscent of Radishchev s Journey from St.Petersburg to Moscow,whose description of the country landed the author in a certain secure facility at the pleasure of her Imperial Highness Catherine II it doesn t pay always to be too truthful about the homeland, but also in cocktail recipes all of which are firmly in the do not try at home category My father once working with a pair of alcoholics asked them how do you know when you ve become an alcoholic and got past the probationary period of merely being a heavy drinker, said the first when you find yourself straining metal polish To which the second said Nah, nah, you know that you re an alcoholic when you drink your metal polish neat view spoiler this unoriginal anecdote is by no means is intended as a substitute for professional medical advice hide spoiler A fun and funny intoxicated ramble around Moscow The man wrecked by affect disorders not fun I hoped the angels might help him, but they embarrassed and silent. From the Author Moscow to the End of the Line
If dialectical materialism were turned on its head, something like angels would probably fall out If you got drunk enough to cross Moscow a thousand times without ever seeing the Kremlin, something like freedom would happen, despite the State If poky old Petushki became Eden, just because you loved and it was there, materialism would be turned right side up again, but with the angels left in That s Erofeev, whose incredibly Russian cocktail of sadness joy, shame, spirituality, and sensual skewering of Lenin is Marxism s inadvertent glory a gorgeous f you to Kremlins everywhere. If an epic can be brief then this is one Erofeev s drunken journey to the end of the Moscow train line, stuffed with thoughts and ponderings true, tragic and hilarious The first thing that strikes the reader is the overriding compulsion to make sense of the world to catalog, categorize and assign values to things It starts in on page one and pretty much follows on every page One of my acquaintances says that Coriander vodka has an antihuman effect on a person that is, it strengthens all the physical members but weakens the soul With me it happened the other way around for some reason that is, my soul was strengthened in the highest degree while my members were weakened But I agree that this too is antihuman Therefore, at the same time, I added two mugs of Zhiguli beer and an Albe de dessert port straight from the bottle If the narrator could have given up drinking, he would have made a great mathematician or IT guy or infographic designer because he couldn t get enough of calculating and instructing and laying out cocktail recipes For instance, he wants to know what is worse, paralyis or nausea Nervous exhaustion or mortal sorrow It doesn t surprise you that he is fired from his job for making graphs that chart the drinking habits of his coworkers relative to their productivity But against this scientific instinct he also seeks to take the wrong path, to get life wrong, to throw his head back like a piano player and drink What sort of hallway was it I haven t the slight idea even now, and it ought to be that way Everything should Everything should take place slowly and incorrectly so that man doesn t get a chance to start feeling proud, so that man is sad and perplexed The book is of course also a social commentary on Soviet Russia, and starts with the narrator talking about how he couldn t seem to find the Kremlin even if he tried, and ends with him finally in the Kremlin and not liking what he finds there Highly recommended. Oh, crap, another Russian writer without a beard It always makes me so sad Like seeing a squirrel without a tail It seems unnatural, unfair Freakish.I m impressed by his attempt at a Clark Gable stache though.So in the little bit of research I did on this book I found that it s considered a postmodernist prose poem which I didn t necessarily pick up on while I was reading it The poem bit, I mean the postmodernist part was quite evident Now I m not sure what to think I feel like I should re read it in light of the whole prose poem thing, but no Proust is waiting for me patiently at the bedside table and there s that whole book I m reading for my real life Pretentious Bookclub, so there s just no time for a re read of this So let it be known that it s a prose poem Maybe that will help you going into your own reading of it and then you won t have your world turned upside down like mine was.Even though Erofeev didn t sport the Russian classic ie, beard , he did write about an alcoholic, so he gets to keep his Russian literary citizenship for that at least Supposedly pseudo autobiographical it follows the story of Venichka who has just lost his job as a cable fitter for charting how much alcohol he and his coworkers drank The majority of the story takes place on a train from Moscow to Petushki and involves the various discussions that take place between Venichka and his other travelers Alcohol is consumed Duh.Petushki is where Venya s lover and child await him, it is his salvation and joy unlike Moscow which obviously is meant to be all about restriction, destruction, and everything else bad about Russia in 1968 when Erofeev wrote the story One thing I love about the Russians is their veiled references to their oppressive society being a postmodern work it probably goes without saying that I missedthan I should have because I suck at reading postmodern works sometimes I should be in therapy for this problem But I am trying, so shove it.I also want to give a shout out to the fantastic cover art that was chosen, Self Portrait with Demons James Ensor Perfect fit. One of the most beautiful books I ve ever read, hands down Through a haze of alcohol, Soviet repression, and the hypnotic rhythm of a subway journey, Erofeev turns his drunken slapstick into brilliant satire, his own maudlin self pity into the lyrically transcendent. *Ebook ☠ Москва — Петушки ⇙ In This Classic Of Russian Humor And Social Commentary, A Fired Cable Fitter Goes On A Binge And Hops A Train To Petushki Where His Most Beloved Of Trollops Awaits On The Way He Bestows Upon Angels, Fellow Passengers, And The World At Large A Magnificent Monologue On Alcohol, Politics, Society, Alcohol, Philosophy, The Pains Of Love, And, Of Course, Alcohol I ve read this book bout 1 000 times It s ultimate answer to your pain, depress and even happiness. Recently, I drank beer with a friend whose native language is Arabic As our bottles clinked, I asked him if there was anything we could say in Arabic that would be appropriate, such as cheers , na zdorovya, etc No , he laughed, it is prohibited I then asked if there was an Arabic word for hangover No, he said Not even some sort of impolite or forbidden word, I asked, or a word to describe people from other countries who ve had too much alcohol, and what they experience when they wake up the next morning No one who spoke Arabic ever observed such a thing and wanted to describe it The closest thing, he told me, is a word that simply means out of one s mind , which, from the perspective of a native English speaker, isn t very close at all Yesterday I thought of this book, and I got to wondering how many words Russian has for hangover I know of one, bodoon, but I get the impression there may be others On the last page of my used copy of Moscow to the End of the Line, or Moskva Petushki, there is written in pencil, under the questions make a fig and money to buy drinks , a recipe for a drink called Tear of a Komsomol Girl , a recipe that looks to me like it s potentially fatal When I asked my Russian teacher about it, she said that people really drank things like this during the Soviet Union She also said the book is one of her favorites.I think I can understand why Along with A Confederacy of Dunces, it s one of the few genuinely funny books I ve read and like that book, also very sad A man, having recently been fired from his job, gets on a train in Moscow, intending to go to Petushki the end of the line He meets all sorts of characters on the train, real and imagined, including, inevitably, the devil, who demands that the man answer impossible and scatological riddles I don t want to spoil anything, but as the book went along, and the man got closer to his destination, I got a clearer understanding of what Yerofeyev was trying to do and the sense of tragedy, of a life passing by in a haze, and the large scale tragedy of Communism, becameapparent The book is a little like a night of drinking heavily everything at first seems enjoyable and humorous, then you start to feel depressed and vaguely ill, and realize you shouldn t be urinating off the edge of the roof and if you ve really drunk too much, maybe you drift into some awful realm of the spirit like the one depicted in the last 20 or so pages Maybe there s a word for that in Russian I don t know much about Yerofeyev s life, but I get the sense that he lived his book I watched a small part of a documentary about him, and when he was interviewed he was lying on a couch in his apartment, barely able to move, speaking through a hole in his throat I don t know how old he was at the time, but the back cover of the book says that he lived only to 55 Moscow to the End of the Line and Walpurgis Night, or The Steps of the Commander which I haven t yet read seem to be the only novels of his translated into English The back cover mentions two other titles with intriguing names, Annunciation and Notes of a Psychopath, but I don t know if they ve been translated.