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Good fun It feels a bit dated, but that may be due to me being a Romanian and reading a 1960 English translation of a 1927 Russian text, and losing some of the original flavor along the way Still, it is easy to see why Twelve Chairs is considered a classic, both inside and outside the Soviet space At the first glance, it is an extremely sharp satire of the times in which the talented duo from Odessa were both witnesses and actors, as seen in the chapters about the editor of a Moscow newspaper and about writing the epic poem The Gavriliad about a stalwart Russian insert occupation here At the second glance, the plot and the characters gain a timeless quality that transcends cultural borders to speak about greed, corruption, selfishness, vanity, envy, fear Proof of this universal appeal can be glimpsed in the many adaptations of the story from Cehia or Cuba, to England and the United States Some particular scenes the 1st of May launching of a new tram line in Stargorod, the meetings of the secret Alliance of The Sword and Ploughshare have a strong resemblance torecent cinema works by Milos Forman The Firemen s Ball or Emir Kusturica Underground Black Cat, White Cat The analogy is not only in the keen eye for the comical situation and the slightly grotesque cast, but also in thetender touch, as of a stern parent who might criticize his child, but keeps loving him deeply despite his many shortcomings The satire of Ilf and Petrov is often harsh, but never mean spirited or ugly A particular scene from the book comes to mind of Ilf and Petrov getting lyrical about a spring Sunday in Moscow and young people going to the flea market to purchase a mattress a symbol of status in an impoverished neighborhood, but also of love and hope for the future.The plot i think it is known the ailing mother in law of the main actor Ippolit Matveyevich Vorobyaninov, a.k.a Pussy confesses on her death bed that she has hidden a treasure in jewelry inside one walnut chair one of twelve that were later appropriated by the communist authorities This McGuffin sets up a wild treasure hunt across the Soviet Union, from Stargorod to Moscow, from Georgia to Crimeea Vorobyaninov is ill equipped to deal with the hardships of the quest, and soon falls under the influence of a smooth operator Ostap Bender a young rake familiar with all the tricks and lies of a life of crime Soon, Bender will steal all the best scenes in the book, setting up one shady deal after another, lying his way into marriage only to elope the next day, claiming to be a chess Grandmeister, a painter, a fire inspector, a white revolutionary, a tourist guide, and on and on one impersonation after another Acrooked alter ego to the typical Communist hero promoted by the party propaganda machine is hard to imagine, yet he is surprisingly credible in the context of the period aliberal pre Stalinist society, with encouragement of free enterprise and private initiative It is hard not to cheer for Ostap, when he is gaming the system, always betting on the stupidity and self interest of his victims.The supporting cast is as memorable as Ostap or Vorobyaninov, even if they have a lesser role to play I recognize in them archetypes of people I m still meeting today Father Fyodor the renegade priest who sells his soul for a piece of the treasure Victor Polesov, the mechanic intellectual the know it all busybody, with a firm opinion about everything under the sun, morbidly curious about everybody elses business and slovenly about his own work Ellochka Shukin The Canibal the perky man teaser with high society airs, copying the fashions from foreign magazines and driving her husband crazy with her social climber ambitions Elena Stanislavovna former call girl mistress and now neighbourhood psychic seeing the future in cards or coffee cups the Widow Gritsatsuyev the gullible middle aged lady chasing after the treacherous Ostap Absalom Vladimirovich Iznurenkov the scatterbrained writer of jokes and heroic poetry Liza Kalachov the pretty student who craves a bit of salami while her boyfriend sings praises to the healthier and cheaper vegetarian lifestyle assorted undertakers, engineers, accountants, building administrators, government functionaries, actors, students, reporters each with his or her moment in the limelight.While there are some slapstick moments in the book, most of the humor is situational or in conversations My favorite parts are the authors riffs on general subjects, when they really let loose with their wit Here s a short teaser to end my reviewStatistics know everything It has been calculated with precision how much ploughland there is in the USSR, with subdivision into black earth, loam and loess All citizens of both sexes have been recorded in those neat, thick registers so familiar to Ippolit Matveyevich Vorobyaninov the registry office ledgers It is known how much of a certain food is consumed yearly by the average citizen in the Republic It is known how much vodka is imbibed as an average by this average citizen, with a rough indication of the titbits consumed with it It is known how many hunters, ballerinas, revolving lathes, dogs of all breeds, bicycles, monuments, girls, lighthouses and sewing machines there are in the country How much life, full of fervour, emotion and thought, there is in those statistical tables Origem do exemplar Biblioteca L ngua da edi o lida Portugu s Tradu o Excelente.G nero Fic o literatura romance s tira Avalia o Excelente Uma s tira fabulosa la G gol com uma personagem ic nica da literatura russa e sovi tica Ostap B nder Excelente tradu o de Nina e Filipe Guerra. Tell me, dad, said the young man, taking a puff, are there any marriageable young girls in this town The old caretaker did not show the least surprise For some a mare d be a bride, he answered, readily striking up a conversation I have noquestions, said the young man quickly And he immediately asked oneA house like this and no girls in it It s a long while since there ve been any young girls here, replied the old man This is a state institution a home for old age women pensioners I see For ones born before historical materialism That s it They were born when they were born The marvellous events of The Twelve Chairs are taking place after the final victory of historical materialism in one, separately taken country.Our heroes, who classically may be called picaros like those of classical picaresque novels are treasure hunters, the unbelievable tandem of a wedding swindler Ostap Bender and a former nobleman Ippolit Matveyevich Vorobyaninov.In the first side street Ippolit Matveyevich leaned against Liza and began to paw her Liza fought him off Stop it she cried Stop it Stop it Let s go to a hotel, Vorobyaninov urged.Liza freed herself with difficulty and, without taking aim, punched the lady killer on the nose The pince nez with the gold nose piece fell to the ground and, getting in the way of one of the square toed baronial boots broke with a crunch.The evening breezeSighs through the treesChoking back her tears, Liza ran home down Silver Lane.Loud and fastFlows the Gualdalquivir.The vicissitudes of their treasure hunting are fabulous, grotesque and fantastically uproarious But somehow a reader s sympathy always remains on the side of the confidence trickster.Sometimes all the pleasures of treasure hunting are in the process and not in the result Ilf and Petrov started off writing short humorous pieces for Soviet newspapers The quest plot of The Twelve Chairs gave them a loose format that allowed them to write it as a series of fairly short comic incidents My favourite of these has the lead character posing as Chess Grand Master and challenging an entire chess club to simultaneous matches an effort which gets off to a good start This isn t unique, Three Men in a Boat, Diary of a Nobody and The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War all take much the same approach.Set during the relatively prosperous and free wheeling years of the New Economic Policy in the Soviet Union of the 1920s, the quest is to recover a fortune hidden inside one of a set of twelve chairs High jinks ensue Despite the ending, Ilf and Petrov did go on to write a sequel The Golden Calf.My copy of this is shabby down at heel 1993 edition, paper discoloured, hardcover coming away It looks a bit comical itself if truth be told. All my life this was the funniest book I have ever read Once a year or two I would revisit it and double up instantly in helpless mirth Because of this book I can pinpoint with accuracy the year I matured it was the year I reread the book and realized that in spite of it playfull wittiness, it described a crushingly depressive vision of humanity The last time I reread this book I didn t laugh once I only cringed and groaned Still brilliant, but suddenly not so lighthearted at all.Good thing there s Tom Sharpe left. I m almost ashamed for not enjoying this book a lot , but I suppose I ve read it too late The beginning was one of the funniest I ve come across in a long time, there were hilarious moments when I laughed out loud, the plot was really well crafted at times and it had some interesting insights into Russian social and political climate around 1920 s I was amazed to discover that some of the observations are valid even today some things never change, it seems.Yet, the language was a little bit outdated and there were so many digressions from the main subject that I started to lose interest It felt like Ilf and Petrov wanted to cover all the flaws of Russian society in a single book an honorable feat nonetheless I am the guilty party here, as it seems I am out of patience for this kind of writing You should read this book, don t mind my rating It really has some solid things to say. L ho finito, e riesco solo a pensare meno male che ho gi preso il secondo volume in biblioteca.La storia forse non originalissima, come detto anche nell introduzione, ma lo svolgimento perfetto Pi di una volta ho sorriso o ridacchiato in pubblico e in privato, attirando lo sguardo confuso di quei pendolari che non sanno tramutare il tempo di viaggio in tempo di lettura poverini.Che la letteratura russa sapesse farmi piangere assodato, che sappia anche farmi ridere una piacevolissima scoperta Ostap un truffatore dalla creativit inesauribile, certo, ma la cosa che mi ha coinvolto maggiormente l ironia degli autori che pervade ogni pagina Non c aspetto della vita sovietica, dalla burocrazia alle guide di viaggio, che non venga sapientemente commentata E quante cose sono ancora sorprendentemente attuali &READ KINDLE ↞ Двенадцать стульев ↭ Ostap Bender Is An Unemployed Con Artist Living By His Wits In Postrevolutionary Soviet Russia He Joins Forces With Ippolit Matveyevich Vorobyaninov, A Former Nobleman Who Has Returned To His Hometown To Find A Cache Of Missing Jewels Which Were Hidden In Some Chairs That Have Been Appropriated By The Soviet Authorities The Search For The Bejeweled Chairs Takes These Unlikely Heroes From The Provinces To Moscow To The Wilds Of Soviet Georgia And The Trans Caucasus Mountains On Their Quest They Encounter A Wide Variety Of Characters From Opportunistic Soviet Bureaucrats To Aging Survivors Of The Prerevolutionary Propertied Classes, Each One Selfish, Venal, And Ineffective Than The One Before Varb t tu v l gribi atsl gas no dz vok a, kur atrodas nauda Krieviski gan, manupr t, fr ze izklaus s v l lab k, tom r tie i ar o fr zi man asoci jas is rom ns o tekstu es zin ju jau no pamatskolas vecuma Gr matu pirmo reizi izlas ju, kad man bija k di desmit gadi Iepatik s, p c p ris gadiem izlas ju v lreiz Pirms k diem pieciem gadiem k d gr matn c ieraudz ju jaunizdotu uzlaboto divpadsmit kr slu variantu krievu valod Ilgi dom ju ieg d t vai ne, bet las m v l bija diezgan, un atlik s Tom r, kad uzzin ju, ka Zvaigzne ABC ir izdevusi o darbu piln b ar koment riem, uzreiz grib j s izlas t o gr matu.Dom ju, ka katram, kur kaut vai nedaudz ir las jis, gr mata ir paz stama Ja ne pati gr mata, tad t s varo u v rdi un izteikumi gan Gr matas galvenais varonis ir Ipolits Matvejevi s Vorobja inovs saukts ar par Kisu Izbijis Stargorodas mui niec bas priek s d t js, tagad pils tas N dzimtsarakstu noda as ier dnis P c savas sievasm tes n ves uzzina par t s briljantu likteni Tie izr d s ie ti vien no divpadsmit kr sliem, kas reiz dai oju i vi a viesistabu Iesp ja atkal k t bag tam vi a liek doties ce Ja nu k ds nezina, Kisa savulaik bijis izslav ts iz rd t js, un v lmi dz vot labi vi pie padomju vald bas v l nav zaud jis Ostaps Benders, Turcijas pavalstnieka d ls, cilv ks, kur ciena Krimin lkodeksu, par iesp ju k t bag tam uzzina nejau i Tom r varenais kombinators ir gatavs piedal ties aj pas kum par nieka 50% Ir ar konkurents t vs Fjodors, kur par briljantiem uzzin jis pirmsn ves gr ks dz gr matas izdevuma liel kie plusi ir pirmk rt priek v rds, kas las t jam ieskic gr mat aprakst t laika re lijas Uzzin m gan par politiskaj m aktualit t m, m kslinieciskaj m un literat ras tendenc m No t k st skaidrs, k d visp r du gr matu ir at vu i lai ar izcenz tu public t Otrk rt daudz s zemsv tras piez mes, kas izskaidro izteikto fr u noz mi vai k du v sturisku faktu T s gr matai piedod papildus v rt bu, jo ne visi m s esam Majkovska dai rades speci listi vai liter ro izdevumu v stures p rzin t ji Tre k rt padomju varas izcenz t s vietas T s visas ir saliktas atpaka tekst , un darbu varam las t t du, k to ir iecer ju i autori Veselas divas noda as ir velt tas Kisas pirmsrevol cijas dz vei Atlikti atpaka ar da i anekdotiski atgad jumi un p ris t laika liter tu netie s kritikas Tas viss pie ir gr matas las anas procesam papildus dimensiju, tu esi ne tikai labi izsm jies, bet ar nedaudz izgl tojies.Ja v l neesi o gr matu las jis, tad tas noteikti ir j izdara Tas nekas, ka notikumi aptver p crevol cijas Padomju valsti laik 1927 gadam Tas ir laiks, kad Trockisti un Sta ina piekrit ji c n j s par ietekmi Izr d s, ka gr mata ir trockistu kritika un t d bijusi t laika vald bai pa pr tam Dz ve ai valst ir atainota vis sav kr um , gan to, k main ju ies cilv ku ieradumi, gan viet jo uz mumu finans anas strukt ra, cilv ku attieksme pret pirmsrevol cijas laiku, vec s elites klus s alkas tikt atpaka aug pie varas, visai plauksto o noziedz bu un kr pniec bu.Gr matai lieku 10 no 10 ball m un noteikti p c p ris gadiem p rlas u v l gan ir no t m, kuru ies kot las t, ir gr ti nolikt no malas, pat ja zini vi u gandr z no galvas Man gan izdev s sevi p rvar t un izlas t to divos pieg jienos Plus v l ir viena no retaj m gr mat m, kuru lasot man tie m n k smiekli, ka nevaru notur ties. According to a twenty something friend who recently immigrated to the U.S from Russia, this 1927 satirical comic novel is still so popular in Russia that not only has everyone read it on their own not in school but everyone quotes from it in their everyday speech The only thing remotely comparable I can think of in America is cult classic movie quotes Life is quite absurd, and that s the final wordOr at least that s the view from the cheap seats in early Soviet Russia Yet somehow this cynical send up of the wild goose chase we call life manages to be almost as light on its feet as Ostap Bender, the clever trickster of a protagonist whom I hated, but couldn t help hating less than all the other evencontemptible greed and vanity driven characters Everything, including literature itself, is duly skewered not to mention hallowed Russian novelists Yet maybe, just maybe, a tiny glimmer of the light of hope could be shining at the end of the proverbial tunnel The novel s blend of witty language and slapstick physical comedy had me thinking this would make a great movie and in fact there have been at least two Russian comic films and a goofy 1970 Mel Brooks interpretation Though a little slow to start, once it got rolling the novel was a pretty fast 500 pages Monty Python movie quotation