The Aviator

The Aviator

4.17 (1,200 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by 

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From award-winning author Eugene Vodolazkin comes this poignant story of memory, love and loss spanning twentieth-century Russia

A man wakes up in a hospital bed, with no idea who he is or how he came to be there. The only information the doctor shares with him is his name: Innokenty Petrovich Platonov.

As memories slowly resurface, Innokenty begins to build a vivid picture of his former life as a young man in Russia in the early twentieth century, living through the turbulence of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath. Soon, only one question remains: how can he remember the start of the twentieth century, when the pills by his bedside were made in 1999?

Reminiscent of the great works of twentieth-century Russian literature, with nods to Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment and Bulgakov's The White Guard, The Aviator cements Vodolazkin's position as the rising star of Russia's literary scene.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 28mm | 362.87g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1786074842
  • 9781786074843
  • 732,755

Review quote

`Vodolazkin's grip on this narrative is iron-tight... We should expect nothing less from an author whose previous novel, Laurus, was a barnstorming thriller about medieval virtue.' * Guardian * 'I'll be reading The Aviator, the latest novel by the contemporary Russian Orthodox writer Eugene Vodolazkin, who has a real gift for writing about weighty spiritual matters with gorgeous lightness.' * Rob Dreher 225 Magazine * `A fascinating, science fiction-tinged chronicle of a century in Russia.' * BBC Culture * `An unabashed, panoramic view of the landscape of human consciousness... Draped in thoroughly Russian trappings, The Aviator speaks to common experience while soaring into realms that enfold the human drama below.' * Foreword Reviews (starred review) * `Crisply focused, rich in sensory detail... The arc of the narrative is as simple and clever as a philosopher's parable. But this is also a deeply emotional book...a quietly radical novel, animated by the spirit of Dmitry Likhachev, an academic who knew what it was to suffer the blows of history first-hand.' * Words Without Borders * `Evocative and enigmatic...despite this book's gentle love story or its murder mystery or its sf flourishes, it is, in many ways, a quintessentially Russian novel, as vivid and probing as they come.' * Booklist (starred review) * `A brilliant, thought-provoking read.' * Historical Novel Society, Editor's Choice * `Engaging... Those familiar with twentieth-century Russian history will delight in the swirl of memories that emerge over the course of the narrative.' * World Literature Today * `Profound.' * Shelf Awareness * `A chunk of Russian mastery on display here. An exceptional read.' * Weekend Sport * `Engrossing, with some surprising turns... This device of a man out of time, waking up in a future world he doesn't recognize, has become almost cliche, but is deftly used here to illuminate the ways memory - both historical and personal - can either serve to chain us to the past or open us to eternity.' * Thermidor * `Since this is Vodolazkin, the writing is of course beautiful, and the narrative structure is onion-like, revealing itself carefully and elegantly as the story progresses... There is also even a touch of Dostoyevsky in this powerful novel, whereby Vodolazkin telescopes a century's horrors and dramas through the lives of a single Leningrad communal apartment's residents, all the while broaching the greater philosophical questions of existence. Highly recommended.' * Russian Life * `A powerful, moving story... It touched my heart in so many ways... Most highly recommended.' * Marjorie's World of Books * `Such is Vodolazkin's modest, difficult, but trans-temporal hope in a time-bound age. Both novels would make splendid Christmas gifts to friends or family members who want to be radically challenged in their reading.' * The Christian Century * `Vodolazkin's second novel to be translated into English is stylistically different from its brightly filigreed, 15th century-set predecessor, Laurus, but preserves that novel's sweep and passion for history...the writing, never portentous, blows like fine, dry snow across the pages. Great reading for all audiences.' * Library Journal * `Vodolazkin amazes again with his exceptional mastery of language.' * Style (Russia) * `Captivating.' * * `Exceptional.' * Dmitry Bykov, Echo of Moscow * `Eugene Vodolazkin sophisticatedly manipulates with genres, masters the style, and keeps the tension until the novel's last page.' * Trud *
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About Eugene Vodolazkin

Eugene Vodolazkin was born in Kiev and has worked in the department of Old Russian Literature at Pushkin House since 1990. He is an expert in medieval Russian history and folklore. His debut novel Solovyov and Larionov (Oneworld, 2018) was shortlisted for the Andrei Bely Prize and Russia's National Big Book Award. Laurus, his second novel but the first to be translated into English, won the National Big Book Award and the Yasnaya Polyana Award and was shortlisted for the National Bestseller Prize, the Russian Booker Prize and the New Literature Award, and has been translated into eighteen languages. He lives in St Petersburg.

Lisa C. Hayden's translations from the Russian include Eugene Vodolazkin's Laurus, which won the Read Russia Award in 2016 and was also shortlisted for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize along with her translation of Vadim Levental's Masha Regina. Her blog, Lizok's Bookshelf, examines contemporary Russian fiction. She lives in Maine, USA.
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Rating details

1,200 ratings
4.17 out of 5 stars
5 45% (543)
4 33% (394)
3 17% (205)
2 4% (44)
1 1% (14)
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