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The Hand

By (author) Yuz Aleshkovsky
Translated by S. Brownsberger
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Peter Halban Publishers Ltd, London, United Kingdom
Published: 30th Nov 1989
Dimensions: w 138mm h 216mm
Weight: 410g
ISBN-10: 1870015282
ISBN-13: 9781870015288
Barcode No: 9781870015288

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Kirkus US
Aleshkovsky's previously translated work, Kangaroo (1986), featured a crook who'd been privy to every low-deal of Soviet history. Now, working the grotesque/insider/confessional mode one power higher, the narrator of what is a Celine-like, febrile monologue is a legendary chekist - an agent of the security police - nicknamed The Hand. The Hand, after years of patient tracking, has finally nabbed an amoralist named Gurov, a black-marketeer who'd sold his own father down the river for a price, who'd plundered happily in the apparat for years. The Hand himself is bloodied, but he plays with Gurov, suggesting that it is the conscious absence of the Devil's active presence that has allowed satanic replication in Soviet history. As in Kangaroo, the more Soviet history you know the better; Aleshkovsky, in his baroque screed, tends toward the hermetic detail. Yet there is a devastating summation of the Khrushchev years, and a mock-metaphysics that could have come only from the pen of a Russian writer. Relentless and somewhat headachy, but of interest to those who want to feel the nihilism just inches deep under Russian secrecy. (Kirkus Reviews)