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Penguin Lost (Melville International Crime)by Andrey Kurkov
Synopses & Reviews
The long-awaited sequel to the acclaimed Death and the Penguin
Andrey Kurkov’s first book to be published in English, Death and the Penguin, was hailed by leading critics in the US and the UK as “a tragicomic masterpiece” (The Daily Telegraph) of suspense about life on the crime-riddled streets of an impoverished, post-Soviet Kiev. But until now, fans haven’t been able to read the sequel and find out what happened to Viktor and his silent cohort, the penguin Misha, whom Viktor was forced to abandon at the end of the novel while fleeing Mafia vengeance.
Admirers need wait no longer. Now available for the first time in the US, Penguin Lost sees Viktor grab at the opportunity to return to Kiev incognito and launch an intensive, guilt-wracked search for Misha.
It’s a search that will take Viktor across the Ukraine to Moscow and back, vividly depicting a troubled landscape. It once again lands Viktor in league with a series of criminals and corrupt officials, each of whom know something of what happened to Misha, and each of whom are willing to pass that information along if Viktor will just help them with one more job. . . And it’s a tale told once again in a style that’s part Bulgakov and part Hitchcock, simultaneously funny and ominous, nearly absurd and all-too-real.
Readers may find themselves rooting even harder for Viktor this time, as he presses forward on his odyssey under even more dangerous circumstances, in another brilliantly rich and topical book from a contemporary Russian master.
"In this supersonically-paced, but ultimately tedious sequel to Death and the Penguin, Viktor Zolotaryov searches for his beloved missing penguin Misha. At the behest of ailing Muscovite Bronikovsky, heartbroken Viktor leaves the Drake Passage and returns to Kiev, where, under an assumed identity, he becomes involved in a hodge-podge of shady dealings. Whether disguised as Bronikovsky, dealing with a Chechen warlord, or rigging elections for a corrupt politician, Victor constantly longs for Misha. However, his journey to find Misha becomes a burdensome trudge as Kurkov piles on muddled events and an unmanageable cast of characters. Despite its seemingly simple premise, the novel suffers from an uncoordinated plot and an awkward translation: 'Viktor was struck by one full-face portrait showing scar and broken nose to maximum advantage, with the plus of an animal-at-bay expression much at variance with the smug Hollywood smile of the airbrush portrait.' Readers should be prepared for confusion. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Penguin Lost finds Viktor Zolotaryov sneaking back into Kiev under an assumed identity to undertake a dangerous mission: He wants to find Misha, his penguin, whom he fears has fallen into the hands of the criminal mob looking for Viktor himself.
Guilt-ridden and determined to do what it takes, Viktor falls in with a Mafia boss who employs him in an election-rigging campaign, in return for introducing Viktor to other mobsters who can help him find Misha. And as Viktor goes from mobster to mobster, trying to survive in Kiev’s criminal underground, the evidence mounts that Misha may be someplace even worse: the zoo of a Chechen warlord.
What ensues is for Viktor both a quest and an odyssey of atonement, and for the reader, a stirring mix of the comic and the tragic, the heartbreaking and the inspiring.
About the Author
Andrey Kurkov, born in St. Petersburg in 1961, now lives in Kiev. Having graduated from the Kiev Foreign Languages Institute, he worked for some time as a journalist, did his military service as a prison warder at Odessa, then became a film cameraman, writer of screenplays, and author of critically acclaimed and popular novels. He is the author of Death and the Penguin and The Case of the General's Thumb.
George Bird has translated extensively from German and Russian. In 1986 he won the Pluto Crime Prize for his novel Death in Leningrad.
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