Tony Wood: Vladimir Sorokin, 30 June 2011
Show More The Ice Trilogy by Vladimir Sorokin, translated by Jamey Gambrell.
NYRB, 694 pp., £12.99, April 2011, 978 1 59017 386 2Show More
Day of the Oprichnik by Vladimir Sorokin.
Farrar, Straus, 191 pp., $23, March 2011, 978 0 374 13475 4Show More
“... In Vladimir Sorokin’s novel The Queue, one of the protagonists is struggling with a crossword: ‘1 Across – Russian Soviet writer.’ Suggestions come from people next to him in the long line that is the book’s setting and subject – Sholokhov, Mayakovsky? – but are rejected, because neither fits both adjectives at the same time. When Sorokin wrote The Queue in the 1980s, these adjectives – always in tension – could still sit together in a handful of cases (the answer settled on is Gorky); but since then, they have been severed from each other by the watershed of 1991, and now represent distinct historical epochs, as well as two separate literary cultures ...”