The Penguin Book of Death — Gabrielle CareyAndrei Kurkov is dismayed to see how the portrait of post-Soviet Ukraine created for his political satire Death and the Penguin has come so close to reality. As a writer, he had a moment of satisfaction when he began to see how neatly life was imitating art, but it was a fleeting sensation, quickly overwhelmed by a sense of gloom. Contract killings, executed journalists, rampaging political corruption and an environment of profound moral chaos fuel the plot of Kurkov's novel, creating a humourously bleak picture of Ukrainian life. The absurdities of the lifestyles enjoyed by the new mafiosi and the criminal elite are evoked with the cheerful narrative simplicity of a children's fable. But a glance at the news emerging daily from Ukraine gives a sour edge to the comedy. The novel's publication in Britain comes as political crisis continues to unfold in Kiev - a thickening scandal, fermenting on contract killings, an executed journalist and political corruption. The chaos surrounding the beheaded opposition journalist Georgy Gongadze and continuing speculation over the possible involvement of President Leonid Kuchma in his death make the extraordinary events of the novel seem unremarkable.
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Viktor is an aspiring writer with only Misha, his pet penguin, for company. Although he would prefer to write short stories, he earns a living composing obituaries for a newspaper. He longs to see his work published, yet the subjects of his obituaries continue to cling to life. But when he opens the newspaper to see his work in print for the first time, his pride swiftly turns to terror. He and Misha have been drawn into a trap from which there appears to be no escape. Andrey Kurkov. Andrey Kurkov was born in St Petersburg in
Death and the Penguin is the nectar of booklovers and Misha, a penguin rescued from a struggling zoo, is one of the most animated, engaging and touching characters in contemporary fiction. Death of Penguin shows many pictures of loneliness and human isolation.
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Death and the Penguin is a novel by Ukrainian author Andrey Kurkov. It is a bleak, satirical work with surreal elements and dark humour, and is also credited by The Independent 's Lesley Chamberlain as being one of the texts to "get Russian literature going again after the post-Soviet hiatus". The novel follows the life of a young aspiring writer, Viktor Alekseyevich Zolotaryov, in a struggling post-Soviet society. Viktor, initially aiming to write novels, gets a job writing obituaries for a local newspaper. The source of the title is Viktor's pet penguin Misha, a king penguin obtained after the local zoo in Kiev gave away its animals to those who could afford to support them.
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