Glukhovsky, Dmitry (translated by Natasha Randall)
Gollancz, 2009 (originally published 2007)
ISBN: 978 0575086241
I gotta say, I’m lovin’ the sheer Russian-ness of this book. You remember when I was trying to read that Solzhenitsyn book The Cancer Ward, and it kept defeating me? Well, this was something else entirely. Seriously cublings, it’s so good! Admittedly, it’s taken me a while to read it, but that’s more me than it is the book. There’s a lot of stuff going down in Mama Wolf’s world at the moment, but instead of boring you with that, I’ll suffice to say that this book has been a nice little break from reality.
Just a note here – I decided not to make this review into a Word vs. Image challenge, even though this is kind of a special circumstance. As far as I’m aware, Metro 2033 hasn’t been made into a movie, but it has been made into a game; the game came out a few years ago now, but I still remember watching my Lad play it (I don’t possess the manual dexterity or nerves of steel for FPS-type games – hacking madly with a sword from a distance is about my limit). It was certainly true to the books claustrophobic, terrifying feel; beasties leaping out at you from all angles. If you’re keen to read about the novel as a game, you can do so here.
Getting back to the ‘break from reality’ thing, I think that that’s mainly because it’s so bleak. I’d really challenge anyone with a skerrick of imagination to think that they’d had a bad day after reading about daily life in the Moscow subways after the Nuclear Apocalypse as Glukhovsky imagines it. You feel tired just thinking about it. And as much as I love pork and mushrooms, I think that I’d be weeping after a few months of only eating that – let alone years. Read the rest of this entry
Bodley Head, London
Jeez Louise, there’s impenetrable Russian literature, and then there’s this book.
What was I thinking? My brain is fried enough as it is these days without trying to wade through this kind of thing. It seems to be the problem that I constantly have with literary fiction, right? That I just can’t seem to do it, to enjoy it, to not wallow in the fact that what I’m reading is supposed to be hard, to feel martyred (and secretly pleased with myself) because of this wodgey fortress of a book. To give you an idea, the edition that I got out of the library was the first time that Cancer Ward had been published as a single volume. A single volume, that’s right cublings – it used to be two books! It weighs nearly two kilograms! Okay, so I made that up, but it gave me wrist cramp just getting through the first chapter, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
This was meant to count towards the Full-Frontal Challenge, because Solzhenitsyn was a Nobel laureate, but damnit, I didn’t read enough of it to even fake having read it. I did learn some interesting stuff about Solhenitsyn (though, not how to say his name quickly) in the course of researching my next read for the Booksluts Award-Winning Challenge. But really, I’d just be padding out the post, and it’s nothing that you couldn’t find out for yourselves on Wikipedia. And I love you cublings too much to fry your brains, so I’ll just content myself to steering dinner party conversations onto gulag’d Russian authors of the 2oth Century to show off my retention skills.
I might start off a bit slower next time and read The Gulag Archipelago instead.