The Golden Calf

( 2 )

Overview

Ostap Bender, one of Russia's most beloved literary characters and an unrelenting con man, is trying to scam a scammer in The Golden Calf and swindle enough to be able to move to Rio. One of the funniest, and most satirically cutting, books ever published in the Soviet Union.

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The Golden Calf

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Overview

Ostap Bender, one of Russia's most beloved literary characters and an unrelenting con man, is trying to scam a scammer in The Golden Calf and swindle enough to be able to move to Rio. One of the funniest, and most satirically cutting, books ever published in the Soviet Union.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A hilarious blend of absurdist, futurist and surrealist sensibilities, this new (and only complete) translation of Ilf and Petrov's novel following The Twelve Chairs, first serialized in 1931, is a highly animated tale of a con artist's journey through the cities and hinterlands of Soviet Russia. Part anarchist, part Quixote and part jester, “grand strategist” Ostap Bender, along with his lackeys, rides through the country in a yellow jalopy in search of the elusive “secret millionaire” Alexander Koreiko. Along the way, a superabundance of wild, arresting images and uncanny scenarios materialize, from an elaborate bureaucracy housed in a former hotel where the “white bathtubs were filled with files,” to the introduction of a puzzle maker attempting to make a riddle out of the word “industrialisation”; from the sight of doormen “selling white-striped watermelons by their doorways” to the use of a telegram machine missing a letter. It's an invigorating journey through innumerable paradoxes, dreams and burlesque routines, and though it's intensely chaotic (at times to dizzying effect), this is a finely translated edition of a triumphant literary experiment. (Dec.)
Library Journal
War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, and Doctor Zhivago weigh so heavily on Russian literature that many readers don't realize that there are some truly hilarious Russian novels. This classic picaresque, first serialized in 1931, is one of them. Enlisting the help of two other con artists and a simple chauffeur, Ostep Bender devises one ridiculous scheme after another to wrest a million rubles from another con man, who's living a quiet life waiting for socialism to end, toting the wealth he can't spend in a comically enormous suitcase. Although Bender is a crook with hundreds of nonviolent ways to separate people from their money, his mark is equally crooked. Furthermore, because the original wealth was acquired from an absurd system rather than an innocent individual, the reader feels a greater affinity with the antihero. When Bender finally succeeds in stripping his mark of a million rubles, he isn't any happier. In this way, the novel is able to satirize both Soviet collectivism and capitalism. VERDICT This outstanding work recalls Jaroslav Hašek's The Good Soldier Švejk and will appeal to a wide range of readers—K.H. Cumiskey, Duke Univ. Lib., Durham, NC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934824078
  • Publisher: Open Letter
  • Publication date: 12/15/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 504,922
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Along with his writing partner, Evgeny Petrov, Ilf wrote two of the most revered Russian novels of all time: The Twelve Chairs and The Golden Calf. He died in 1937 after contracting tuberculosis while in the U.S. working on Little Golden America.

Along with his writing partner, Evgeny Petrov, Ilf wrote two of the most revered Russian novels of all time: The Twelve Chairs and The Golden Calf. Their collaboration ended when Ilf passed away while researching the book that would eventually become Little Golden America.

Konstantin Gurevich is a graduate of Moscow State University and the University of Texas at Austin. He translates with his wife, Helen Anderson. Both are librarians at the University of Rochester.

Helen Anderson studied Russian language and literature at McGill University in Montréal. She translates with her husband, Konstantin Gurevich. Both are librarians at the University of Rochester.

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Customer Reviews

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