The New Moscow Philosophy by Vyacheslav Pyetsukh

Source- Review copy

Translator – Krystyna Anna Steiger

Vyacheslav Pyetsuka is a Russian writer ,he is a trained historian ,he taught  russian and world history until the avant grade nature of his fiction lead to him losing his job ,he has since published numerous books in Russia ,and has had a number of his short stories translated ,notably in the new russian writing collection from Penguin .This book came out in Russia in 1989 and is new from Twisted spoon the czech based publisher .

The novel is set over course of a weekend and we follow it from friday to monday as the members of a collective household in Moscow gather and discuss what happened to the old women that had a flat in the building and who will get the space that is now free she isn’t there any more this book has echo’s of crime and punishment by Dostoyevsky ,like that book there is a large cast of people involved in the story telling process fourteen in all .The book is like a russian doll it becomes more and more as we move along we find out that the disappearance of  Alexandra Sergeyevena Pumpianskaya (don’t you just love that name ) may have more too it than first thought ,hence the echo to C&P was this a murder ,well we never know this isn’t a crime book it is a book about russian life ,art and philosophy as the tenants talk we see the previous hundred year of russian life and art mention in snippets .

Though it may seem speculative at first if not futile, investigating the relationship between life and what we call literature would be useful at this point .The relationship in question is extremely abtrusive undertaking, but is tempting  to try nonetheless .First it’s tempting to ascertain to what degree literature is a game and to what a book of fates , a textbook of life .

The opening of the second part “saturday”

Now this book is a must for any Russian lit fan ,as follows of this blog know I m russian lit light my self  but slowly working on this ,so I found this a book that sent me rushing to google at times to find out about this and that as I went a long ,so it gave me more of a passion to discover more russian Literature old and new and any book that makes you do that is always worth picking up .I think the other echo with C&P is the time when C&P was written Russia was a land of uncertain futures and this book in 1989 is the same this is just the time the new age of russia was happening .We also see how important space and station can be in a large city as the people in the building argue over this vacant space .all this and a lengthy discourse between two of them on the nature of what is evil .I must say the translator Krystyna Anna Steiger ,has manage to keep together what is a complex and mutlilayered book ,still hugely readable in English .

Have you a favourite new russian writer ?

22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bina
    Aug 13, 2011 @ 18:53:37

    I’ve always felt intimidated by great Russian writers. I’ve read Anna Karenina and a few others but still haven’t read much else. This one sounds very intriguing, is going on my list!


  2. parrish
    Aug 13, 2011 @ 19:00:20

    Olga Grushin is a great writer, loved he The Dream Life of Sukhanov & I’m always suggesting Turgenev.


  3. Gavin
    Aug 13, 2011 @ 20:07:04

    I’m going to have to find a copy of this one. It sounds good.


  4. sakura
    Aug 13, 2011 @ 20:58:39

    My interest is piqued! Will have to get my hands on this one!


  5. Judith
    Aug 14, 2011 @ 00:27:13

    Oh, Stu,
    This was a fascinating, illuminating post! Thank you!

    Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)


  6. Caroline
    Aug 14, 2011 @ 08:52:33

    This sounds very god, Stu, thanks for the review. I have no favourite new Russian writer but a feeling I haven’t read enough. A rich literature for sure.


  7. Lisa Hill
    Aug 14, 2011 @ 11:18:43

    Thanks for this Stu, I’m starting to read all things Russian in preparation for our trip there next year!


  8. amymckie
    Aug 14, 2011 @ 14:18:49

    I’ve really not read much Russian lit, this book sounds like a great place to start though.


  9. Graham
    Aug 14, 2011 @ 17:18:25

    This sounds a good book. I’m a fan of things Russian.


  10. Kinna
    Aug 15, 2011 @ 11:47:21

    Adding this to my list. My favorite contemporary Russian writer is Victor Pelevin. I should be reviewing one of his novellas this week. The contemporary Russian literary scene is quite vibrant and I think there is much much more for us to explore beyond the dead and old grand masters. Thanks for the review.


  11. Trackback: The New Moscow Philosophy, by Vyacheslav Pyetsukh « ANZ LitLovers LitBlog
  12. Trackback: Eurovision of books 2013 what to read from the final | Winstonsdad's Blog

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August 2011


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