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Moscow 2042 (1986)

de Vladimir Voinovich

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256778,924 (3.86)13
The year is 1982, just two years before that made famous by Orwell. An exiled Soviet writer discovers that a German travel agency is booking flights through a time warp to a variety of tempting sites and dates in the future. Moscow? The year 2042? How can he resist? Afterword by the Author. Translated by Richard Lourie.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 7 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
I enjoyed Moscow 2042 when I read it years ago in translation and enjoyed it again this time around in the original: Voinovich is a master of combining high and low humor in political satire.

There's more on my blog here. ( )
  LizoksBooks | Dec 15, 2018 |


Welcome to dystopia, soviet-style. If you like your satire roasted to well-charred black comedy, this novel weighing in at over four hundred pages will be a memorable feast. I laughed so hard reading The Fur Hat, I wanted to laugh even harder – Moscow 2042 gave me the chance. Vladimir Voinovich fans of the world unite; I join your ranks, comrades.

It’s 1982 and we’re in Munich with exiled Russian author Vitaly Kartsev when he learns from a friend Lufthansa Airlines is offering flights back and forth through time. Marvelous. Vitaly tells us he always wondered what his homeland would look like in the future.

He books a three hour flight for Moscow landing in 2042. Any trepidation or anxiety revolving around risks taken in such time travel is completely whisked away when Fräulein Globke down at the travel agency informed him there is absolutely no limit on the amount of drinks a passenger can be served during flight and all drinks are free of charge. Sign me up! Airtight logic - after all, Vitaly Kartsev is both a writer and a Russian and can always use a free-of-charge drink.

No sooner is Vitaly booked for his trip to the future then all sorts of people want in on the action: an American publisher offers three million for his story, a king of an Arab state demands he retrieve secret information, a buddy from the old days now linked in dubious ways to Soviet politics wishes to rekindle friendship, and most significantly, Leo Zilberovich, his literary agent, insists he take the next flight from Munich to Toronto to meet with a former labor camp inmate and a true Russian literary genius complete with impressive beard: Sim Simych Karnavalov.

Voinovich has praised Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his other writings but in this work the famous Gulag Archipelago author is on the receiving end of repeated jabs from his sharp, lampooning needle. Even the novel’s title, Moscow 2042, can be seen as a takeoff (futuristic sequel, perhaps?) of Solzhenitsyn's August 1914.

After landing in Toronto, driving through a forest and arriving at Simych’s gated estate, Kartsev is in store for all sorts of shenanigans, beginning with being stopped at the entrance by two Cossacks, one white, the other black, both with a walrus moustache and armed with long swords.

Looking closely at the white Cossack, Kartsev recognizes him as none other than his literary agent Leo Zilberovich. Kartsev shouts a hearty hello and asks why the costume. Ignoring the question, the mustachioed guard demands to see identification. Kartsev replies by sticking a middle finger in Leo's face.

Calm down, Vitaly, you will be obliged to deal with absurdities and farces right up until the moment you leave for Munich to board the plane flying you sixty years into the future.

And once in Moscow in the year 2042 - future shock with a vengeance. The novel’s dark humor lies in contrast: Moscowrep, the city’s inner ring, the first true communist republic, is judged by its inhabitants a perfect utopia, a glowing diamond, the pinnacle of all prior human achievement.

However, listening to all their doublespeak and taking in the reality of this sordid, grimy, stinking, suffocating city, our literary narrator quickly detects their utopia is a sham.

Take one instance: Can you imagine having to stand in a long line to turn in your shit to the local authorities so you can get a pass to eat dinner? But this is standard procedure, since, after all, it has to be, for, as they say in the Moscowrep, primary material (food) is secondary material (human excrement). To argue against this practice so continues those same brainwashed natives, smacks of metaphysics, Hegelianism and Kantianism.

Change is desperately needed. More specifically, what is needed is a godlike hero returning to Russia in all his glory riding on a white steed. What is needed is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Woops! Excuse me, I meant to say Sim Simych Karnavalov.

I highly recommend Vladimir Voinovich's comic masterpiece. Russia's future will never be the same again.


Russian author Vladimir Voinovich, Born 1932 ( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
A bit too much of a particular time to remain as enjoyable as it might have been. (That time being the final moments of the Brezhnev-era, and its life support continuation under Andropov & Chernenko.) Probably not helped by the fact that it feels perhaps 100 pages too long, and the afterword where the author discusses how political changes in Moscow have rendered it even more relevant — an afterword written in 1990. (Oops.)

That said, the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn parody remains hilarious. ( )
1 vote g026r | Aug 5, 2012 |
Moscow 2042 is like an over-rich over-long meal. At a certain point you just want it to end. But it is too much to expect that this would be as fresh or demonstrate such economy of wit as Ivan Chonkin, his first novel. And this isn´t just writer´s middle-stage spread. The post-Soviet empire offers even richer seams of corruption, incompetence, hypocrisy, paranoia and delusion than the last one, and the satirist is hard pressed to keep up with it. Voinovich does a pretty good job, although it seems to me that he has a certain sympathy and affection for Muddle Russia, and aims his most barbed comments at its self promoting intellectual saviors - in this case a thinly disguised portrait of Solzhenitsyn. All in all this is not a bad novel, although the word ´labored´ comes to mind. As a satire it suffers a little, in that reality - in the form of President Putin - has become more absurd than anything from the novelists´ pen. But still worthwhile, although Hasek´s Svejk, or even Voinovich´s Chonkin, have said it just as well, if not a tad better, in the past. ( )
1 vote nandadevi | Apr 8, 2012 |
A fantastic book; light without being frivolous, insightful without being heavy-handed. Read most of its 400-plus pages in one day. ( )
1 vote KatrinkaV | May 2, 2011 |
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Geier, SwetlanaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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The year is 1982, just two years before that made famous by Orwell. An exiled Soviet writer discovers that a German travel agency is booking flights through a time warp to a variety of tempting sites and dates in the future. Moscow? The year 2042? How can he resist? Afterword by the Author. Translated by Richard Lourie.

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