Evgeny Popov pokes fun at every aspect of Russian culture and tradition, bringing into his comedy historical figures, composites of real people, and wildly absurd characters.




Evgeny Popov, The Soul of a Patriot, Trans. by Robert Porter, Northwestern University Press, 1994.


One of the liveliest novels to come out of Russia in recent years, The Soul of a Patriot is a rambunctious portrait of the lives of ordinary Russians from the Revolution to the death of Leonid Brezhnev. Popov pokes fun at every aspect of Russian culture and tradition, bringing into his comedy historical figures, composites of real people, and wildly absurd characters.


"A satirical masterpiece."--Berliner Zeitung

"Succeeds brilliantly in expressing the patriot's passion." --Guardian

"In contrast to the doom and gloom that overburdens much Russian fiction produced by the so-called 'lost generation,' The Soul of a Patriot reverberates with laughter." --Independent



"The rapid-fire satire and scorn of this, [Popov's] first novel to be translated into English, must have been sheer caustic to the stodgy Brezhnev regime." --Observer



"A brisk and often gritty work . . . Popov offers a wry and often amusing look at a moment in history . . ."--World Literature Today



Evgeny Popov, Merry-Making in Old Russia: and Other Stories, Trans. by Robert Porter, Northwestern University Press, 1997.


Popov's short stories move from the village prose genre into the territory of the grotesque via the stark reality of late Soviet life. The Russia of Merry-making in Old Russia and Other Stories is variously the Russia of Siberia, of a peasant hut, or of a decaying Moscow factory workshop. In a landscape peopled by sympathetic yet stunned characters caught between the harsh routine of everyday existence and the trappings of the modern world, these men and women resort to vodka and to tall tales, and to physical and verbal abuse, to dull the pain of the dehumanizing Soviet regime that is their lot. Freely mixing the fantastic with the concrete, Popov's stories offer a darkly comic glimpse into the soul of a population debased by a regime.


There is a river of vodka running through this exceptional collection of stories about life under the Communist regime. It begins aptly enough with "Five Tales About Vodka," and in nearly all the other stories that beverage brings solace to the author's rather eccentric characters. Popov (The Soul of a Patriot, Northwestern Univ., 1994) demonstrates with skill and compassion the fine line that exists between humor and pain, permeating his fiction with an irony that hovers between the tragic and the comic as his characters resort to all sorts of abuse in order to cope with life's irritations. Whether it's an old man feigning suicide to frighten his nagging wife or an inebriated worker wiping herself with a precious contract?whatever the situation, beyond each smile lies a tear. Ably translated, this work is highly recommended for all literature collections.? - M. Anna Falbo


"[H]ilarious, gloomy, absurd. . . . Popov fits easily into the Russian and Soviet tragicomic tradition: his triumph in these matter-of-fact tales lies in his ability to point out the absurdities in late-Soviet reality while making the absurd seem real." --Publishers Weekly
"An improbably charming collection . . . from a contemporary storyteller who seems to have appropriated the raffish comic spirit of Russia's famed chronicler of small-town amorality and mayhem , the late Mikhail Zoshchenko . . . An extremely entertaining book." --Kirkus Reviews


"Popov demonstrates with skill and compassion the fine line that exists between humor and pain. . .This work is highly recommended for all literature collections." --Library Journal

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