Silver Crest

Silver Crest : A Russian Boyhood

By (author)  , Translated by 

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Product details

  • Hardback | 142 pages
  • 140 x 220mm
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Russian
  • 019271399X
  • 9780192713995

Review Text

Chukovsky was a popular children's author (librarians know his From Two to Five) as well as the Russian translator of Mark Twain. These memoirs of an Odessa boyhood in the 1890's do have a vagrant, Tom Sawyerish appeal as the hapless Kornei gets embroiled in schoolboy pranks, vainly plots to prevent his expulsion, takes to the street after failing as an apprentice sign painter, and finally passes the gymnasium exam on his own. The political overtones of Kornei's downfall (it seems the Tsar disapproves of laundress's sons in the gymnasium) may escape some readers, and so will Chukovsky's love of word play, though his struggles with a surreal course in English Language Self-Taught come off better than the jokes about Russian dialects. On the other hand, no one can ignore the larger than life types who populate Chukovsky's anecdotes: Six-Eyes the principal; the priest Melety whose habit of muttering "yes, yes, yes" throughout the lesson has the class busily keeping score; the burglar Top Hat whom Kornei's mother feeds cherry dumplings after she catches him red-handed in a neighbor's apartment. For all his troubles young Kornei is a sharp cookie; the hearty particularities of his recollections and the literate mischief he pulls off should appeal to others as sharp as he. (Kirkus Reviews)show more