Requiem for a Soldier
From the Solzhenitsyn Prize and Russian Booker Prize winner
In the vast Kazakh steppes of the crumbling Soviet Empire, Alyosha has finished his army service and is promised a gift from his deaf commander: an everlasting steel tooth. As he waits for it in the infirmary, he agrees to help out a medical officer, and they set out on a journey that takes them all the way to the kingdom of the dead.
Oleg Pavlov’s kaleidoscope of a tale is peopled with soldiers and prisoners, hoboes and refugees and mice that steal medicines. Their surreal inner world is vividly reflected in Pavlov’s expressive prose, reminiscent of Platonov. Poetic, tragic and darkly comic, the novel is at once a grotesque portrayal of late Soviet reality and an apocalyptic allegory that has drawn comparisons with Faulkner and Kafka.Read an Excerpt
- Read more about Oleg Pavlov in our authors’ section.
- Requiem for a Soldier is translated by Anna Gunin. Anna has translated I am a Chechen! by German Sadulaev and The Sky Wept Fire by Mikail Eldin. Her translations of Pavel Bazhov’s folk tales appear in Russian Magic Tales from Pushkin to Platonov (Penguin Classics), shortlisted for the 2014 Rossica Prize. She has also translated poetry, plays and film scripts by Denis Osokin and Yuri Arabov.
- Requiem for a Soldier is the third volume in the Russian Booker winning trilogy, Tales from the Last Days. Volume One, Captain of the Steppe, a ‘brilliant and lasting expression of a bitter, righteous rage’ and Volume Two, the ‘small stunner‘ The Matiushin Case, are also published by And Other Stories.
‘Oleg Pavlov is a powerful writer, and Requiem for a Soldier is his finest work.’
The Big Issue
‘Russian Booker Prize-winner Pavlov writes with the confident eccentricity of a man who knows what to do with words.’
‘Pavlov’s reputation and style sets him among the ranks of authors such as Genet and Burroughs with comparison also drawn to Faulkner and Kafka. Lovers of the haunting, poetic, literary grotesque of these authors combined with a healthy level of surrealist humour will find great satisfaction in the pages.’
'Chekhov would approve . . . Pavlov [is] a witness with a flair for spectacular images of surreal beauty – a mouse “quivered like a little heart” – which simply ease into a narrative, blending heightened prose descriptions with political satire and punchy dialogue, often expressing exasperation, which is well rendered into colloquial English by Anna Gunin.’