The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight by Gina Ochsner (2009)
He's not gone though. As his body remains under a pile of snow in the courtyard, he also visits the characters throughout the story giving them advice. Like Yuri, whose girlfriend Zoya is desperate to get pregnant, while Azade's son Vitek is trying to convince him to join up and go to war. But Yuri already went to war and hasn't recovered. He is plagued by the memories, by the ticking he hears in his head, by Zoya who he's really not happy with. But he's not taking charge of his life. His mother Olga is also struggling. She's becoming increasingly upset at the lies she is force to write for the newspaper, but she can't tell the truth if she wants to keep her job. Only her friendship with her coworker Arkady makes her job tolerable. Tanya is also experiencing pressure at her job, when her boss asks her to fill out a grant application, and the result is a visit from some Americans who want to see the museum and are expected to stay with Tanya while they're visiting. In the apartment building with no running water and homeless children terrorizing everyone out in the courtyard.
Nothing is going well for anyone in this book, but it's the life they're used to and they just do the best they can what with they've got. It sounds like it could be depressing, but it's not. It's written in that uniquely Russian (I think?) absurdist style that is funny but darkly so. Some parts - including dialogue - read like rather poetic riddles. It's a very specific kind of story and writing that I imagine is not for everyone, but I like it.
The story doesn't have a lot of forward momentum and it's rather thin on plot, so although I liked it, I didn't exactly fly through it. Unfortunately, I also wasn't really in the mood for it when I started, but once I got going I was glad to be reading it. If you like absurdity and Russia and quirky characters, you might want to give it a try.
Post a Comment