Moscow Stations, Venedikt Yerofeev's autobiographical novel, is in
many ways the successor to Gogol's Dead Souls. The two works are
comic historical bookends, with Gogol's novel portraying the sloth
and corruption of feudal Russia and Yerofeev's novel portraying the
sloth and corruption of feudal Communism. The truth is that while
the streets of Moscow may be clogged with Volvos and Mercedes
sedans these days - in keeping with the new capitalism - the
anguish and dissipation of the late, coruscating empire are still
the real fact of life for most people. Moscow Stations remains a
lesson in the current events of the Russian soul.The novel is a
mixture of high, drunken comedy - a portrait of a soul filled with
wisdom and pickled in Hunter's vodka who spends his days traipsing
around Moscow but has never once seen the Kremlin. With this
cheerful admission we are off on a hallucinatory ride through the
increasingly desperate mind of Venedikt Yerofeev. He once remarked
that Moscow Stations was 'ninety pages of funny stuff and ten pages
of sad stuff' but it is mostly about a clear-eyed man who can still
say, no matter how much he has drunk: 'I, who have consumed so much
that I've lost track of how much, and in what order - I'm the
soberest man in the world.'
Faber and Faber
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