Death and the Penguin - I found this book and was enticed by the title … as I'm sure you will be …
… it's described as a tragicomic masterpiece … the blurb needs to be read to get an idea of the underbelly in the story …
Kurkov lives/d in Kyev when he wrote his stories … the New York Times describes the tale thus: “A striking portrait of post-Soviet isolation … in this bleak moral landscape Kurkov manages to find ample refuge for his dark humour” …
Reading the book brought back so many memories of my very brief time spent in Brno, Czechoslovakia, at an exhibition and the few years I worked with an organisation exporting capital plant and machinery to Eastern Europe in the early 1970s.
|Brno, now in the
I was always accompanied by a member of the British contingent of exhibitors – wherever I went – and we were always indiscreetly followed, even in the lift.
Death and the Penguin was written in 1996, published here in 2003 … so when the Ukraine of a few weeks ago was becoming that Ukraine (the one we knew), after the break up of the Soviet Union, for them 21 January 1990 was when Ukrainians formed live chains, by holding hands, in support of unity – establishing the principle of having choice.
|Contemporary political map of
I found his works when I was checking out Ukrainian, Olia Hercules' culinary journey books about Ukraine and the Caucasus (the region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea). I am keen to learn more about the region.
So when BBC Radio4 broadcast Kurkov's the first instalment of 'Letter From Ukraine' – I listened with interest …
It is here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0015h6b
The first of three episodes on 'the tumultuous events of the last few days and his family's flight from their home in Kyiv'.
|Kurkov on the cover of
Culture and Life magazine
For all authors – note bene! He had difficulty getting his first publishing contract … and had 500 rejections … but eventually started publishing independently … he was elected President of PEN Ukraine in 2018.
When the invasion commenced I was about to write something historical on International Women's Day - 8th March … which I will get to next … co-incidences of life …
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