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Resan till ljuset by Andrej Djakov
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Resan till ljuset

by Andrej Djakov

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341329,500 (3.43)5

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» See also 5 mentions

Dmitrij Gluchovkij’s Metro 2033 books have one of the coolest post-apocalyptic settings I know: the last scraps of humanity after a nuclear blast are clinging on to life in city states in the metro stations. The surface is heavily radiated and full of dangerous mutants, and the only people venturing up are stalkers, who gather and sell the precious waste from before.

It doesn’t get any bleaker than this. It’s a world full of dark, damp corridors, mold, the smell of diesel and burning rubber. The Swedish cover design of these books sum it up pretty well: grey and sepia books, with “portraits” of close up faces in battered gas masks.Djukov’s book is a spin-off, not surprisingly one of many spawned in Russia. I thought it sounded pretty interesting: the setting was S:t Petersburg this time rather than Gluchovskij’s Moscow, and a lot of it was set on the surface.

I was rather disappointed. This is a pretty classic quest story, following a group of (exhaustingly broad-necked) stalkers as they set out to investigate a mysterious light on an island outside of Petersburg. Could this be the sign the Exodus cult are waiting for – that the Ark has finally arrived to deliver the people of the Metro to the radiation free promised land. The world continues to be exciting. The wasted S:t Petersburg is captured in rich detail (I’m sure someone familiar with the city can follow this journey almost street by street), and Djukov adds some real nasty mutants. This is a chillingly weird read a lot of the time. But the novel is distinctly of the “and then this happened and then that happened” type. We follow the group (who are all extremely hard-boiled, did I mention that?) from one peril to the next without any recess, except for the mandatory page of sad silence after losing another stalker in the dark to something with fangs. I find myself wondering what all these slobbering meat-eaters survive on when there aren’t stalkers around, as non-lethal animals seem to be in extremely short supply.

The existential, perhaps spiritual, quality of Gluchovskij’s books is also mostly lacking here, even if attempts are made with dimestore philosophy of the “facing despair is part of being human. But it all comes down to what you do with despair” variety. The ending of the book redeems it a little bit, even finding some depth in a few of the characters. But it’s not enough. I’ll be waiting for the return to underground Moscow instead of picking up the sequel to this. ( )
  GingerbreadMan | Apr 21, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Andrej Djakovprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wallin, OlaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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