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De twaalf stoelen by Ilja Ilf
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De twaalf stoelen (original 1928; edition 2006)

by Ilja Ilf

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6321215,341 (4.03)19
Member:jipgijs
Title:De twaalf stoelen
Authors:Ilja Ilf
Info:Amsterdam : Muntinga Pockets; 463 p, 18 cm; http://opc4.kb.nl/DB=1/PPN?PPN=296572195
Collections:Your library
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Tags:Russian literature

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The Twelve Chairs by Ilya Ilf (Author) (1928)

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» See also 19 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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 |
I very much enjoyed this rollicking, absurd satire until the end, where it was like hitting a wall. Set in the 1920’s Soviet Union, the story follows former nobleman-turned-provincial clerk Ippolit Matveyevich Vorobyaninov, searching for the family jewels of his recently dead mother-in-law, and Ostap Bender, an inventive con man. Bender’s nonstop schemes were extremely amusing and the secondary characters and ridiculous situations were fun as well. The authors make fun of various types, presenting a satiric portrait of Soviet society at the time. I probably didn’t get all the allusions or satire, but it was still funny anyway. Vorobyaninov could be annoying at time – the amoral anarchy of Bender is much more appealing. Unfortunately, the ending is unhappy for the pair, but also a pat Soviet morality conclusion, with a much different tone from the rest of the novel. It felt tacked on. The rest of the ride was good fun though.

Vorobyaninov has been leading a dull life in a provincial backwater until his mother-in-law Claudia Ivanovna dies, revealing shortly before that she hid her jewels in twelve chairs that they formerly owned. He goes back to their old home in Stargorod and fortuitously meets Bender, who he confides in and who decides to join up in the search. But before she died, Claudia Ivanovna also told the secret to Father Fyodor. He has also come to look for the chairs, and there are several brawls between him and the pair. The chairs eventually get split up and Bender and Vorobyaninov have to go chasing them all over the Soviet Union. Along their trip – which takes them from Stargorod to Moscow to even further afield – the pair encounters a number of people. They form a fake secret resistance and meet unhappy vegetarians, stubborn bureaucrats, too-busy newspapermen, an engineer who gets locked out his flat while naked, an empty-headed woman who has a quixotic quest to compete with the Vanderbilt daughter, and a backwater chess club. Vorobyaninov and Bender are Soviet outcasts – Vorobyaninov as a former nobleman and Bender as a dishonest, apolitical swindler, so unfortunately, they have to come to a bad end. Father Fyodor’s final scene isn’t happy either, but it is wonderfully absurd. ( )
1 vote DieFledermaus | Jun 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ilf, IlyaAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Petrov, JevgeniAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Friedberg, MauriceIntroductionsecondary 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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When a former aristocrat who is now a Russian clerk under the new Soviet regime learns that his dying mother-in-law sewed a fortune of family jewels into one of twelve dining room chairs, he sets off across Russia to find it--with an opportunist, a priest and his former servant all in pursuit.… (more)

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