A New York Review Books Original
One of the delights of Russian literature, a tour de force that has been compared to the best of Nabokov and Bulgakov, Yuri Olesha’s novella Envy brings together cutting social satire, slapstick humor, and a wild visionary streak. Andrei is a model Soviet citizen, a swaggeringly self-satisfied mogul of the food industry who intends to revolutionize modern life with mass-produced sausage. Nikolai is a loser. Finding him drunk in the gutter, Andrei gives him a bed for the night and a job as a gofer. Nikolai takes what he can, but that doesn’t mean he’s grateful. Griping, sulking, grovelingly abject, he despises everything Andrei believes in, even if he envies him his every breath.
Producer and sponger, insider and outcast, master and man fight back and forth in the pages of Olesha’s anarchic comedy. It is a contest of wills in which nothing is sure except the incorrigible human heart.
Marian Schwartz’s new English translation of Envy brilliantly captures the energy of Olesha’s masterpiece.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - HadriantheBlind - LibraryThing
Here's a question for you: What do you get when you cross Dostoyevsky's underground man, Gogol's wicked satire, a Nabokovian gift for metaphor, and place them in early Soviet Russia? Unfortunately ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - nuwanda - LibraryThing
First published in 1927 at the wave of Soviet avant-garde fiction, it is a small wonder that this book got in print. Its surreal and playful style is a great precursor to Master and Margarita, which ... Read full review