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Captain of the Steppe by Олег…

Captain of the Steppe (1994)

by Oleg Pavlov

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: And Other Stories (10)

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443385,904 (3.65)5



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I only read the title novel, Казённая сказка, the first novel of a trilogy, this time around but look forward to reading the next installment... Pavlov creates vivid settings and situations at a military company/prison in the Soviet steppe. The book is oddly powerful--it's difficult to read but even harder not to read--and filled with absurdity and dark humor.

(There's more about Kaзённая сказка on my blog, here.) ( )
  LizoksBooks | Dec 15, 2018 |
Though Pavlov is an established author, this was his first published novel, newly translated into English. It features a terrific introduction by Marcel Theroux.

To me, the novel's outstanding feature is the vividness with which Pavlov brings to life its setting in a Russian prison camp on the steppes of Kazakhstan. Also noteworthy are the atmosphere of tragicomedy that seems both Soviet and historically Russian, and a sense of morality that elevates that beyond the merely amusing.

The story-telling, however, gets a little confusing at times, especially later in the book. I don't know if some of that stems from inevitable losses in translation, but I think generally the translation was fantastic, so I suspect it was more the fault of the young author.

I recommend the book to interested readers. It is wonderful to have something like this published despite its non-commercial prospects. As only literature can do, the book gives the reader entry into another world. ( )
2 vote Laura400 | Apr 14, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pavlov, Olegprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Appleby, IanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Theroux, MarcelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedicated to Russian captains, those strongest of servicemen, on whose hard graft, aye, on whose hard graves our Empire-state reposed through the centuries. May they never be forgotten.
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They used to deliver newspapers like potatoes to the company stationed out in the steppe: a month's worth at a time, or two, or even enough to see them through to spring, so as not to waste fuel and not to pamper the unit.
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