Post-soviet penguin

I recently read an article about a Ukrainian novelist who compared the Soviet people after the fall of the Soviet Union to penguins:

“For Kurkov, the plight of a lonely bird living far from his natural habitat mirrored what had happened to people who lived through the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“Penguins are very much like Soviet people. If they get separated from the group, they get very disoriented. And this was what was happening to Soviet people in the early 1990s,” he says. “They were lost.”

The mentality of alienation and coping with the economic cataclysm that Ukraine continues to endure is present in many of Kurkov’s 13 books — eight of which have been translated into English.”

Two of his books are now published in the U.S. How can I NOT read about Ukraine and penguins?

One of his novels caused a stir among the secret police who wondered whether he might have given someone the idea to poison a presidential candidate. His response? “They asked me if I thought my story had given someone the idea to do this. I told them I didn’t think that people who tried to assassinate presidents read my books.”

To learn more about Andrey Kurkov and his writings, read the entire article here.

Think I’ll be reading at least one of his books. Let me know if you decide to read one!


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