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Day of the Oprichnikby Vladimir Sorokin
"Russia loves to suffer, doesn't it? Nothing confirms its greatness more thoroughly than a capacity for pain, with the renowned ability to drink serving as a sort of corollary to this spiritual resilience. To suffocate for decades under the Marxist-Leninist aegis, to grow potatoes in empty urban lots during the disastrous democratization of the Yeltsin years, to watch Putin reclaim the power (and the wealth) of a czar — these are tragedies, for sure, but they are also nails on a cross to which Holy Russia all too willingly affixes itself." Alexander Nazaryan, The New Republic (Read the entire New Republic review)
Synopses & ReviewsPlease note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.
Morning in Moscow. Andrei Danilovich Komyaga wakes from a drunken stupor to the sound of a whip, a scream, a groan. Its only his ringtone — and this is just another day in the life of an oprichnik, one of the reconstituted nobility who rule this, the new New Russia. In this empire cell phones coexist with practices drawn from the draconian codes of Ivan the Terrible. For Russia has leaped back in time. All borders to the West are closed. The free press has been banished. All free enterprise has been appropriated to the state in the person of "Papa," a ruler who may be — for all we know — Vladimir Putin in twenty years time. In this retro future, Vladimir Sorokin gives us a day with Komyaga and his band of merry thugs, whose main duty and pleasure is to suppress any threat to Papa through acts of spectacular violence.
Day of the Oprichnik is a brief, disturbing, unexpectedly hilarious glimpse of a future straight out of the history books or CNN. It is also a defining look at the extraordinary brilliance, wit, and madness of the man described by Keith Gessen (in The New York Review of Books) as the "only real prose writer, and resident genius" of late-Soviet fiction.
"Even with gang rape; drugs in the form of intravenous fish; and a homosexual, Viagra-induced orgy with organs 'refurbished' by the Chinese, the latest from the bad boy of contemporary Russian literature feels hollow. Set in a Russia two decades in the future, this sardonic day-in-the-life follows 'oprichnik' Andrei Danilovich as he fulfills his duties as a henchman for the restored Russian empire. In due time he'll lead an assault on the mansion of an aristocrat who has run afoul of His Majesty, do illicit drugs with his cohorts, head out to a huge transport artery from China to Europe to shake down some foreigners, and finally meet Her Highness for cocktails in the palace bathroom. Though Sorokin is capable as usual in filling his fictitious Russia with satirical touches and buckets of grotesque humor, neither Andrei nor his peers ever develop into anything more than Clockwork Orange knockoffs, and Sorokin's political critique reads stale. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
“Vladimir Sorokin is one of Russias greatest writers, and this novel is one of his best. Day of the Oprichnik is a haunting and terrifying vision of modern Russia projected two decades into the futureor maybe not the future at all. A joy to read — more entertaining, dynamic, engaging, and deeply hilarious than a dystopian novel has any right to be.” Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan and Super Sad True Love Story
“Day of the Oprichnik is Vladimir Sorokin's funniest and most accessible book since The Queue. The KGB orgy scene at the end is worthy of the great shit-eating scenes of his earlier work.” Keith Gessen, author of All the Sad Young Literary Men
“If queues were arranged in order of merit, it would only be fair to put...Vladimir Sorokin at the head.” Lucy Ellman, The Guardian
“Sorokin [is] one of Russia's funniest, smartest and most confounding living writers.” Elaine Blair, The Nation
“Controversy chases the Russian writer Vladimir Sorokin the way a dog chases a stick.” Ken Kalfus, The New York Times Book Review
Originally published in Russia as Den oprichnika.
About the Author
Vladimir Sorokin, whose work was banned in the Soviet Union, is the author of many novels, plays, short stories, screenplays, and a libretto. He has won the Andrei Bely Prize and was nominated for the Russian Booker Prize. He lives in Moscow.
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