Monumental Propaganda by Vladimir Voinovich

By Vladimir Voinovich

Title note: unique identify Monumental'naja Propaganda
Publish 12 months note: First released 2000

From Vladimir Voinovich, one of many nice satirists of up to date Russian literature, comes a brand new comedian novel concerning the absurdity of politics and where of the person within the sweep of human occasions.

Monumental Propaganda, Voinovich's first novel in twelve years, facilities on Aglaya Stepanovna Revkina, a real believer in Stalin, who unearths herself bewildered and beleaguered within the relative openness of the Khrushchev period. She believes her maximum success was once to have browbeaten her neighborhood into construction an iron statue of the excellent chief, which she strikes into her condominium after his dying. And regardless of the ebb and stream of political ideology in her provincial city, she stubbornly, and in any respect charges, facilities her lifestyles on her deepest icon.

Voinovich's humanely comedian imaginative and prescient hasn't ever been sharper than it really is during this hilarious yet deeply relocating tale--equally all-seeing approximately Stalinism, the period of Khrushchev, and glasnost within the ultimate years of Soviet rule. The New York instances publication Review known as his vintage paintings, The lifestyles & awesome Adventures of non-public Ivan Chonkin, "a masterpiece of a brand new form--socialist surrealism . . . the Soviet Catch-22 written through a latter-day Gogol." In Monumental Propaganda we now have the welcome go back of a really singular voice in global literature.

From the Hardcover edition.

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So is there perhaps something far more serious at issue here? – something not immediately apparent? Readers are thrown into a dilemma: on the one hand, the text is definitely not a straightforward proposal and is probably a satire; on the other hand, it seems to transcend satire’s expected bounds, and may actually shake our faith in the link between rationality and morality. Awesomely, it seems to raise the possibility that, if only we could detach ourselves from conventional morality, the crazy proposal might 9.

What both novels show, and themselves aim to bring about among their addressees, is not so much a dilution of the national culture as a salutory modernization through cultural cross-breeding. Here literary dialogicality is manifold indeed: between different languages and cultures, between their writers, between the writers’ fictional characters, and, as always, between the writers and their addressees. Like the Polish translators of Whitman discussed by Skwara, Pushkin and Braudes were receptive readers of foreign literature who wanted to turn themselves into constructively hybridizing writers within their own cultures.

Especially, though not only, as read on the page, then, the play about Mary did far more than simply re-enact the early life of the Virgin. It invited audiences back through a wide range of socializing memories, which were doubtless very close to the memories of the scribe who so pointedly laid out the dialogue on the page, and indeed to the memories of Christians in cities, towns and villages all over Europe. The writing, acting, watching and reading of mediaeval plays were powerfully communicational in the word’s etymological sense.

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