Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov - Book Review

Title: Death and the Penguin
Author: Andrey Kurkov
Publisher: Melville House
Publication Date: 7th June 2011 (1996)
Pages: 240
Format: E-book - EPUB
Genre:Literary Fiction/Satire/Crime
Source: ARC from NetGalley

In the widely hailed prequel to Penguin Lost, aspiring writer Viktor Zolotaryov leads a down-and-out life in poverty-and-violence-wracked Kiev—he’s out of work and his only friend is a penguin, Misha, that he rescued when the local zoo started getting rid of animals. Even more nerve-wracking: a local mobster has taken a shine to Misha and wants to keep borrowing him for events.
   But Viktor thinks he’s finally caught a break when he lands a well- paying job at the Kiev newspaper writing “living obituaries” of local dignitaries—articles to be filed for use when the time comes.
   The only thing is, it seems the time always comes as soon as Viktor writes the article. Slowly understanding that his own life may be in jeopardy, Viktor also realizes that the only thing that might be keeping him alive is his penguin. (Goodreads Synopsis)

I absolutely whizzed through this wonderful satire of one man and his penguin. This was a really easy read with some great black humour and enough pace and action to keep you interested.

Viktor is an engaging character and I was hooked straightaway, keen to find out what would happen to him and Misha. Although he doesn’t do much, Misha the Penguin plays a pivotal role in the plot, which had plenty of fun twists and turns along the way.

This is a great piece that will appeal to fans of lighter Russian literary fiction in particular – or to anyone who likes a fun tale, well told.

I am just starting to read the sequel now and will be offering my review of that one soon.

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