Diaboliad and Other Stories

Diaboliad and Other Stories

3.76 (2,530 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by 

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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 140 x 200mm
  • Bloomington, United Kingdom
  • Russian
  • 0253201535
  • 9780253201539

Review Text

An important sampling of the late Russian author's early output from the 1920's - short stories and sketches mainly of satiric fantasies about frenetically multiplying bureaucracies, enterprising dodgers of official inanities, and an upstart humanity overgrown with capricious cruelties. In "Diaboliad," one of the then-popular forms of anti-hero, a very minor civil servant, richochets through double and repeating identities in a nightmare of officialese - papers, rooms, doors, and Bulgakov's specialty - the persistent odor of sulphur. In "The Fatal Egg" giant serpents are visited upon the citizenry as the State marches on Science. In "The Elpit-Rabkommen Building" a noisy, destructive proletariat takes over a former luxury apartment house, and, symbolically, ruins the systems and mechanical functions which might have served them. There are two acutely moving stories which pass through satiric commentary to reach the dead center of man's solitary agony: a Chinese "coolie," frozen into a comic stereotype, dies in battle warmed by an opium memory of a compassionate light; and a small sentry is brutally beaten and years later tells his story with calm dignity and horrible inner recognitions. Other stories deal with political and literary follies - and there is a quiet domestic piece about loneliness and love. At a time of cultural transition literary fantasy is apt to turn inward to the grotesqueries of human consciousness while real society seems increasing outrageous to the writer. This indicates both a special and speculative fiction market. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Rating details

2,530 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 28% (701)
4 34% (854)
3 28% (715)
2 8% (193)
1 3% (67)
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