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The Queue by Vladimir Sorokin
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The Queue (original 1985; edition 1988)

by Vladimir Sorokin

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161874,103 (3.73)43
Member:cameling
Title:The Queue
Authors:Vladimir Sorokin
Info:Readers Intl (1988), Paperback, 150 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:literature, fiction, Soviet Union

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The Queue by Vladimir Sorokin (1985)

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English (7)  French (1)  All languages (8)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Absolutely wonderful. Hilarious, heartbreaking, and inventive. The experimental style -- all dialogue -- adds rather than detracts from the narrative. While this will be most accessible to those familiar with Soviet life and literature, any reader can enjoy it.

I would love to see a stage show of this. ( )
  sparemethecensor | Nov 23, 2014 |
If you like "Waiting for Godot", this book is for you. I personally love Godot, and I found this book just as enthralling. I can easily imagine it translated to the stage, especially since the entire text is nothing but dialog. No character descriptions, no setting descriptions. Just the back and forth that you would hear if you were standing in a line for days on end. And yet, somehow characters and familiar voices emerge. Relationships develop, fall apart, and rise from the ashes. The state of Russia in the 1970s is touched upon, and the notion that the privileged few get to skip the lines is front and center in the story. I was surprised when I reached the end of the book, because I had become so familiar with the characters I expected to hear them going on about their problems for many more pages. The relationship that develops at the end of the book is unexpected, especially the intensity of it, but it was a very satisfying way to end the tale. ( )
  sbloom42 | May 21, 2014 |
Interesting little book - plays fast and loose with the rules of writing. Describes life inside of a massive line during the Brezhnev stagnation of the Soviet Union. Consists wholly of dialogue and the rituals of boredom and monotony in life. A fun little book, and I'll have read the rest of Sorokin later. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
Who hasn't eavesdropped on a conversation taking place at the next table, or when standing in line at the post office? This book is an eavesdropper's treasure trove. The entire book is a series of short conversations between people standing in line in Moscow. You don't quite know what they're standing in line for, and it doesn't appear that they people in line do too. But if there's something for sale, people will stand in line for it anyway, just in case.

The snippets of conversations overheard are between a mother and her young son, a man and a young woman who meet while standing in line, an elderly man looking for drink while his wife stands in another line elsewhere, someone doing the crossword puzzle and other people who drift in and out of the line, running errands while others keep their place for them or stopping for a bite to eat in a cafe. It's ordinary conversation with real voices.

I didn't think there could be a story formed through short comments that aren't even written as a screenplay, but it works. It really works. The only part of the book I thought could have been shortened without losing the rhythm was the part when the sales clerk ran through a roll call of names.

But there is an ironical twist at the end which will make the reader chuckle. ( )
1 vote cameling | Jan 24, 2013 |
Excellent classic. ( )
  Mithril | Aug 26, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sorokin, Vladimirprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Urban, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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