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Yuri Olesha (1899–1960)

Author of Envy

39+ Works 941 Members 6 Reviews 6 Favorited

About the Author

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Works by Yuri Olesha

Envy (1927) 651 copies
Envy, and Other Works (1967) 87 copies
The Three Fat Men (1924) 78 copies
Love and Other Stories (1961) 25 copies
No Day Without a Line (1979) — Author — 19 copies
The complete plays (1983) 8 copies
Verhalen (2016) 6 copies
Farewell Book (2007) 5 copies
Envy & The Unknown Artist (1947) — Author — 3 copies

Associated Works

The Portable Twentieth Century Russian Reader (1985) — Contributor — 393 copies
Magical Realist Fiction: An Anthology (1984) — Contributor — 113 copies
Great Soviet Short Stories (1962) — Contributor — 77 copies
Extreme Fiction: Fabulists and Formalists (2003) — Contributor — 51 copies
20th Century Russian Drama (1963) — Contributor — 22 copies
New World Writing 14 (1950) — Contributor — 8 copies
Der Irrtum. Russische Erzählungen. (1999) — Contributor — 6 copies
Chaplin básnik smiechu a sľz (1964) — Contributor — 1 copy


Common Knowledge



I read it in the past (right after 1989 of the Romanian Revolution). It is a colorful and savory mix expressing a sympathetic trilogy.
The children will be a little bit agitated about the evolution of the events, but they will remain overflowing realism. The people always rise against the tyrants, and each time it is defeated.
catafest | Dec 31, 2022 |
I confess I had a bit of trouble following. Maybe some of the allegories for early Soviet bureaucracy were lost on me. I'd be curious to read it again in a different translation, but maybe not curious enough to do so.

I just read John Haskell's The Tramp in the latest A Public Space, which is a weirdly literal retelling of the Charlie Chaplin movie, but the mirrored trope of the vagrant picked up by the rich guy, allowed to live in his home, still lacks depth for me. Again, I feel I may lack the cultural context.… (more)
Latkes | 4 other reviews | May 2, 2019 |
Here's a question for you: What do you get when you cross Dostoyevsky's underground man, Gogol's wicked satire, a Nabokovian gift for metaphor, and place them in early Soviet Russia?

Unfortunately, something less than the sum of its parts.

Envy is set in 1920s Soviet Russia, with a drunken loser, Kavalerov, living in the home of a porcine official sausage-maker, Babichev, who is beloved by all. Kavalerov hates Babichev's guts, and writes a letter full of bile against him. Soon after, there's some family drama with Babichev's brother, Ivan.

The language, aside from a few fantastic metaphors, is dull. The narrative is gormless, and largely exists to string together the better moments together. For a 'Modernist' work, it is not as metaphorical or colorful, like Petersburg. I'm not sure whether to ascribe it to undiscovered Soviet editorial mangling, or a subpar translation (the NYRB edition). A pity.
… (more)
1 vote
HadriantheBlind | 4 other reviews | Mar 30, 2013 |
First published in 1927 at the wave of Soviet avant-garde fiction, it is a small wonder that this book got in print. Its surreal and playful style is a great precursor to Master and Margarita, which Bulgakov started to write in 1928. Olesha managed to write a deeply ironic and satiric piece that nevertheless won official critical acclaim - this alone is a testimony that the novel can be read on several different levels.

A masterpiece of Russian fiction that deserves to be listed among the major works of 20th century literature.… (more)
2 vote
nuwanda | 4 other reviews | Sep 10, 2008 |



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