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Overview

A NEW YORK REVIEW BOOKS ORIGINAL

One of the delights of Russian literature, a tour de force that has been compared to the best of Nabokov and Bulgakov, Yuri Olesha's novella Envy brings together cutting social satire, slapstick humor, and a wild visionary streak. Andrei is a model Soviet citizen, a swaggeringly self-satisfied mogul of the food industry who intends to revolutionize modern life with mass-produced sausage. Nikolai is a loser. Finding him drunk in the gutter, Andrei gives him a bed for the night and a job as a gofer. Nikolai takes what he can, but that doesn't mean he's grateful. Griping, sulking, grovelingly abject, he despises everything Andrei believes in, even if he envies him his every breath.

Producer and sponger, insider and outcast, master and man fight back and forth in the pages of Olesha's anarchic comedy. It is a contest of wills in which nothing is sure except the incorrigible human heart.

Marian Schwartz's new English translation of Envy brilliantly captures the energy of Olesha's masterpiece.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590170861
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 03/11/2004
Series: NYRB Classics Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 178
Sales rank: 530,455
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.35(d)

About the Author

Yuri Olesha (1899–1960), the son of an impoverished land-owner who spent his days playing cards, grew up in Odessa, a lively multicultural city whose literary scene also included Isaac Babel. Olesha made his name as a writer with Three Fat Men, a proletarian fairy tale, and had an even greater success with Envyin 1927. Soon, however, the ambiguous nature of the novella’s depiction of the new revolutionary era led to complaints from high, followed by the collapse of his career and the disappearance of his books. In 1934, Olesha addressed the First Congress of Soviet Writers, arguing that a writer should be allowed the freedom to choose his own style and themes. For the rest of his life he wrote very little. A memoir of his youth, No Day Without a Line, appeared posthumously.

Ken Kalfus’s most recent book is a novel, The Commissariat of Enlightenment. He is also the author of two short story collections, Thirst and Pu-239 and Other Russian Fantasies.

Marian Schwartz has been translating Russian fiction and nonfiction for over thirty years. Her work includes Edvard Radzinsky’s The Last Tsar, Yuri Olesha’s Envy, and many works by Nina Berberova.

Table of Contents

Introductionvii
Part 13
Part 275

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Envy 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
nuwanda on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First published in 1927 at the wave of Soviet avant-garde fiction, it is a small wonder that this book got in print. Its surreal and playful style is a great precursor to Master and Margarita, which Bulgakov started to write in 1928. Olesha managed to write a deeply ironic and satiric piece that nevertheless won official critical acclaim - this alone is a testimony that the novel can be read on several different levels. A masterpiece of Russian fiction that deserves to be listed among the major works of 20th century literature.