Sunday, April 12

Andrei Platonov (1899-1951)

On the subject of modern, Russian writers, Platonov is continuously pulled up. And I've been floating along thinking that he is merely one among the many, the overwhelming amount of authors deserving to be read. Like many he was subtly critical, portraying the cruel absurdism of the Soviet state through linguistic satire and emotional decay; but these buds of existentialism, crisis, and the attention paid to the very core of human beings is what makes him stand out so clearly.

His short stories in particular portray the lone human against himself, the scenery is devoid of surplus artifacts and unnecessary symbolism; the emotion and tribulations of soviet man is tied like expanding strings from his being, approaching tangent-like onto others. When I read stories like "The River Potudan" and "The Third Son" I envision this empty, speechless universe, kind of like Andrei Zvyagintsev's films (although they both have works named "The Return", they are not one and the same story). Sad but hopeful Fro lives entirely in her internal world, grappling to comprehend existence without her husband; just like Dostoyevskian characters that live in their own constructs. And in "The Return" we see how a demobilised soldier strives to repair the wretchedness of his soul after war.

Not many of his stories (including the tome-like "Chevengur") have reached a broader audience in translation. Primarily because his language is hard to translate, however straightforward it may seem. But there exists successful translations, and I would implore you dearly to search them out.

(Read more here!)

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