OVERRIDE

Kangaroo

Yuz Aleshkovsky; Translated by Tamara Glenny

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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.

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.

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Kangaroo
LET'S BEGIN at the beginning, Kolya, though I really have no idea whether this ridiculous story can have a beginning or an end at all ...That year--1949--I was the unhappiest man on earth. Maybe in the whole solar system. Of course I was the only one who knew this, but then personal unhappiness isn't like being world famous--you don't need the recognition of all mankind for it.So here goes. It was Monday and I was on my way over to the workshop with a bunch of veils I'd finished, when the phone rang. I fooled around with the veils to show I was still some use to society even if I was
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Yuz Aleshkovsky; Translated by Tamara Glenny

  • Yuz Aleshkovsky was born in Siberia in 1929 but lived mostly in Moscow until he emigrated to the United States in 1978.  He has published several novels in the West, in Russian and French editions.  Kangaroo is the first of them to appear in English.
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Kangaroo

Yuz Aleshkovsky; Translated by Tamara Glenny

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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