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The Twelve Chairs by Ilya Ilf

The Twelve Chairs (1928)

by Ilya Ilf, Jevgeni Petrov (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6701321,690 (4.02)19



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English (12)  French (1)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Prior to a brief but extremely passionate extended weekend, this book was sent to me by a Russian woman who thought my understanding of the language was better than it is.

I've kept the book until now, as a memento of an extremely sensuous few days. I say until now, because for over a year now I have been working for another Russian woman with whom I have become equally enamoured - although age differences and my status as an employee, this will probably only be a one way attraction - and I've given the book in it's pristine condition, to her as a birthday present. This has gone down remarkably well and aroused her curiosity.

Written in Russian, I couldn't comprehend a single word, but the wonders of the internet being what they are, I found an English translation. It's quite a good story......

A bureaucrat working in a Soviet era provincial town, learns that his recently deceased mother-in-law had hidden her family treasures in one of 12 chairs. This was to keep them from the Bolsheviks who were seizing all middle class assets.

The tribulations and efforts to recover the chairs sometimes involve humour, deception, guile and theft. Eventually they are found, but the 'treasure' isn't. The ending has the sort of ironic twist for which Russian authors seem especially fond.

I enjoyed reading the book - but not as much as I'm enjoying the added attention from my boss - but wait a minute!! The Demi Moore/Michael Douglas movie 'Disclosure' has just come to mind...... ( )
  Kampuskop | Jul 28, 2018 |
This book was a decidedly mixed bag for me. It's a rather Walt Disney-esque treatment of what becomes a seemingly never endless pursuit of something very valuable. In fact, I was rather reminded of the 1963 movie, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. It was written and takes place during the early days of Soviet Russia. While I have seen descriptions of the book refer to its "heroes", I found not a single character of much personal appeal or respect. The "journey" that the lead characters follow is engaging for most of the book, but, about half way through, the authors seemed to have had a change of heart in how to present their story, almost as though one said to the other, "No, this is how we should have written this." After a few chapters, the first approach wins out again, and the story line continues as before. For the most part, it's a fun read, but I can't say I really recommend it. ( )
  larryerick | Apr 26, 2018 |
Fantastic book, truly high class. This story of the search for 12 chairs concealing a great fortune in jewels is not only a great comedy, it also has great use of language and an exciting plot line. It even has a wonderful ending. The only regret I have in reading it is that I didn't get a lot of the references since I lack the cultural background of the place / era - The footnotes do help some with this though. ( )
  bzbooks | Jan 4, 2017 |
Very funny story set in Soviet Russia in the 1920s. This book was recommended to me by a Ukrainian friend who tells me that it is a classic. The story concerns a Russian nobleman who has finally come to terms with life in the Soviet Union. But then both he and his priest learn that the pre-Soviet family jewels have been hidden in one of the family’s twelve dinning room chairs. The fun is the treasure hunt that ensues as the various characters attempt to locate the chairs and cash-in on the wealth. Mel Brooks made this into a movie in 1970. The tones are different; the movie was more slapstick while the book is tragic and sad, something like the book Catch-22. I recommend it. ( )
  ramon4 | Nov 8, 2016 |
Confinarlo nella categoria: "letteratura russa" sarebbe veramente riduttivo !
( )
  Edoxide | Apr 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (135 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ilf, IlyaAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Petrov, JevgeniAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Friedberg, MauriceIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jevgenij, PetrovAuthorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reschke, RenateTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reschke, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Richardson, John H. C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roiter, AndreiIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stapert, FransTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There were so many hairdressing establishments and funeral homes in the regional center of N. that the inhabitants seemed to be born merely in order to have a shave, get their hair cut, freshen up their heads with toilet water and then die.
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#English translation originally published: New York : Random House, 1961.

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