One morning in 1949, Fan Fanych, alias Etcetera, is summoned from his Moscow apartment to KGB headquarters, where he is informed that he will be charged with a crime more heinous than any mere man could ever devise. Comrade Etcetera will be tried for "the vicious rape and murder of an aged kangaroo in the Moscow Zoo on a night between July 14, 1789, and January 9, 1905."
Every moment in the nightmarish and hilarious account that follows lives up to the absurdity of this accusation. A seductive KGB agent attempts to convince Fan Fanych that he is a kangaroo; he finds himself in the dock at a spectacular show trial; is sent to a camp full of dedicated old Bolsheviks pathetically attempting to maintain their beliefs in the face of every new atrocity; encounters Hitler in Berlin and Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin at Yalta, where he is privileged to witness the famous conference as it was really conducted.
Kangaroo is a savage, cleansing satire in which Yuz Aleshkovsky confronts the hypocrisy, the cruelty, and the tragic failure of the Soviet regime. His phantasmagoria is faithful to reality, for--as Dostoevsky knew--it is impossible for "realism" to portray a society whose corruption is literally fantastic.