Monday, January 22, 2007

BD and Siberia

So it turns out the Public Service screwed up, no big surprise, and I don't have a French Test afterall. After an e-mail to the manager of the person who sent me the invite and confirmed a date with me on which the employee was copied, I still have a bunch of BD at home to read. Needless to say I was in no mood to read it.

I did, however read Nikolai Maslov's Siberia. An interestingly quick autobiographical work done in pencil. There are some extraordinary landscapes and cityscapes but all the people look grotesque. The dialogue and plot seems to jump a lot but it may simply be that the translation isn't the greatest.

I wasn't blown away by the book but it was a neat glimpse into the absurdities and escapism of Russian society from 1971 onwards. Escape into art, alcohol and insanity because everything seems to be based on crushing any spirit of humanity in the people - from the army, to the militia, to the regulations of the art schools, to the construction jobs that are transforming the landscape into metal casings.

This was a neat little distraction of a book that is worth a flip through if you're wondering how Russians may view their own absurdities and grotesqueries.

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