Read Afgunst by Yury Olesha Free Online
Book Title: Afgunst|
The author of the book: Yury Olesha
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Edition: G.A. van Oorschot
Date of issue: 1967
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 1.11 MB
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Reader ratings: 7.1
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Ever stopped to look at a dried-up turd in a field? I mean, really looked at the thing, hunkering down to admire the dessicated swirl of it, treasuring up the perception as one more radiant gift in life's lavish plenitude? Um, no, me either, actually. But Yuri Olesha apparently has. There's an amazing passage in Envy where a character is crossing a vacant lot and listing all the detritus he sees, in a mock-epic catalogue that takes in, among other things, a bottle, a shoe and a shred of bandage, before ending on an ecstatic note with 'the Babylonian turrets of fossilized human defecation.' Like, wow. A majestic metaphor if there ever was one, and it's typical of Olesha that he'd bestow it on, literally, a piece of shit.
Envy displays on almost every page a zest for the squalid, a zest which is alternately Nabokovian in its finicky precision and Swiftian in its principled disgust. Sometimes the two get all mixed up in a delightfully revolting way:
The widow Prokopovich is old, fat and flabby. You can squeeze her out like a tube of liver paste. In the morning I would stumble upon her as she stood at the sink in the corridor. As a rule, she wasn't dressed and she smiled at me with a womanly smile. By her door, on a stool, stood a basin, with some loose hairs floating on the water.
Nice. Very nice. That liver paste. That womanly smile. Those loose hairs. Enough to put you off sex for weeks. (This widow Prokopovich, btw, plays a secondary role in the novel, but even so deserves an honourable mention as one of the great Elemental Females in literature).
All in all, Envy is very much what grumpy old critics call a young man's novel: it's smart-alecky, hopped-up and occassionally bored with its own plot devices and schematic characters. Still, not one young man in a million could write anything nearly so good.
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Read information about the authorYury Karlovich Olesha (Russian: Юрий Карлович Олеша), Soviet author of fiction, plays and satires best known for his 1927 novel Envy (Russian: Зависть). He is considered one of the greatest Russian novelists of the 20th century, one of the few to have succeeded in writing works of lasting artistic value despite the stifling censorship of the era. His works are delicate balancing-acts that superficially send pro-Communist messages but reveal far greater subtlety and richness upon a deeper reading. Sometimes, he is grouped with his friends Ilf and Petrov, Isaac Babel, and Sigismund Krzhizhanovsky into the Odessa School of Writers.
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