Valentin Katayev (or Kataev)

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Valentin Katayev (or Kataev)

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1kaggsy
Dez 22, 2015, 1:38am

So, I've just started exploring the work of Kataev and so far have been entranced by The Grass of Oblivion. However it seems he wrote another memoir called My Emerald Crown - does anyone know if this has been translated because I'm struggling to find anything about it online.

2languagehat
Dez 22, 2015, 2:12pm

It's actually My Diamond Crown (Almazny moi venets), and no, it doesn't appear to have been translated. Might be just as well, though, because it enraged almost everyone when it was published (in 1977); there's a good description of the controversy here, if Google Books will let you see the page:
https://books.google.com/books?id=PF8lzCov4YkC&pg=PA112#v=onepage&q&...

He "depicts the literary world of the 1920s so that it appears he was the most important person on the scene" and portrays everyone else in an unflattering, and often mendacious, light. There's an argument to be made that it was a deliberate provocation, an attempt to get people to think in less clichéd ways about the period (compare Sinyavsky's Strolls with Pushkin, which also enraged people), but it's probably not the first place to go for more Kataev. I'd suggest trying A White Sail Gleams, The Embezzlers or Time, Forward!.

3kaggsy
Editado: Dez 23, 2015, 1:43pm

Wow! Thanks for the link - that's a damning piece! I think therefore I'll stick to his fictions for a while. I've been reading a few of his short early satires and they're effective; plus The Embezzlers has arrived and I have that and Time, Forward! Difficult to know how to form an opinion about him now....!

4languagehat
Dez 8, 2019, 10:11am

I finally read The Embezzlers and enjoyed it greatly; I wrote about it here:
http://languagehat.com/the-embezzlers/

5kaggsy
Dez 12, 2019, 9:48am

Having expressed doubt about Kataev in 2015, I went on to read The Embezzlers in early 2016 and loved it (and noted the amount of alcohol involved....!) :D

I wrote about it here:

https://kaggsysbookishramblings.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/madcap-highjinks-and-pl...

6languagehat
Dez 12, 2019, 9:54am

A delightful review, thanks for linking it! And yes, the drinking: I've been noticing that every Russian novel I've read recently (The Brothers Karamazov, The Embezzlers, now Definitely Maybe) has featured massive drinking parties where people get so hammered they do things they regret.

7kaggsy
Dez 12, 2019, 5:04pm

Thank you! Yes, so many Russian books seem to feature drinking- not surprising, I suppose, from the land of vodka.... 🤣🤣🤣

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