USSR author Vladimir Kozlov review µ 103

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USSR author Vladimir KozlCal slang of kids who cannot fathom a world outside their ownLike a fucked up Soviet spin on The Wonder Years USSR reminds us that to be young is to be ruled by embarrassment and terror But it wouldn’t bother you to grow up on the crumbling edge of the Soviet Union if only your friends would stop kicking your assVLADIMIR KOZLOV was born in 1972 in the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic His fiction and nonfiction has been long listed for awards in Russia such as the National Bestseller prize and the Big Book prize In 2011 and 2012 he was nominated for G Russia’s Writer of the Year English translations of his writing have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review AGNI the Tin House Books anthology Rasskazy and Best European Fiction 2014 Recently he has been making independent films including a groundbreaking documentary about the influential Siberian punk rock movement of the 1980. I had originally decided to read this book because of the title Though I was born in the USSR I was too young to experience Perestroika born in 1988 and we had emigrated around the time I became old enough to remember things left in 1994I was pleased with the overall narrative but disappointed by the style May Contain SpoilersThe story follows a young boy Igor living in what was then Belorussia Not uite a bildungsroman; Igor is just starting to come of age and change as the nation and culture is changing around him Cigarettes alcohol fighting and interest in girls on the one hand history music chess and Pioneers on the other I felt a connection to Igor because ours is a shared culture Though I grew up in Toronto the majority of my friends were from the former USSR and many of our customs stayed with us I appreciated how Kozlov connected all of these things which were a huge part of a popular culture in flux after years of repressionWhat I didn't enjoy was the translation Jeff Parker called Kozlov the Chuck Klosterman of Russia but this doesn't translate at all From the copious number of spelling and formating errors should I blame the editor to confusing decisions regarding translation Mama Papa and Babushka remained but Dedushka was translated to grandfather; did this have to do with their roles in the story it was often difficult to get past I also had an issue with the footnotes Somethings were very well explained but other collouial expressions or jokes weren't There was a footnote to tell us who Nery Pumpido is but nothing to explain the crude joking response that this name elicited which only makes sense in Russian mat swearing I suppose the editor is again partly to blameOverall I'm glad that I read it I wonder what it reads like in Russian

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Vision when it comes to the myriad minute details which used to define and regulate the comforting bleakness of regular Soviet people’s existence” Mikhail Iossel from the ForewordIt’s hard to be sentimental about a Cold War childhood if you grew up on the Soviet side in the forgotten Belorussian Republic in a crumbling industrial city like Mogilev But it’s even harder when your friends kick your ass and piss on your beloved collection of model carsWith USSR – a big title for an intimate story – Vladimir Kozlov offers an unforgettable perspective on the 1980s when all that matters in a boy’s life is Soviet rock and roll neighborhood fights and clumsy attempts at masturbation With Gorbachev and Reagan lurking in the background and the Soviet economy on the verge of complete collapse Kozlov presents life on the streets of Mogilev through the raw emotions and diaboli. As someone who grew up in pre and post perestroika USSR I must say that this book takes me back in the most non sentimental sort of way Did I enjoy the experience For the most part no but I suspect that it was the author's intent The fragmentary flattened narrative that represents a life of hopelessness and drudgery is not the type of novel that develops uickly or adheres to the traditional story arch I suspect that Kozlov meant to have his readers uncomfortable and that the emotional experience of reading is for him important than what actually happens The form trumps everything else which reuires a certain level of comfort with uncertainty on behalf of the reader The translation from the Russian I must say is excellent and I'd happily read anything else that Andrea Gregovich publishes in the future

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USSR author Vladimir Kozlov review µ 103 Ã “In this important novel leading Russian cultural critic Kozlov a kind of Russian Chuck Klosterman puts us right smack in the hearts and minds of those who experienced firsthand the most wrenching socio political transformation of the Twentieth Century” — Jeff Parker author of Where Bears Roa“In this important novel leading Russian cultural critic Kozlov a kind of Russian Chuck Klosterman puts us right smack in the hearts and minds of those who experienced firsthand the most wrenching socio political transformation of the Twentieth Century” Jeff Parker author of Where Bears Roam the Streets A Russian Journal and Ovenman“With his tender story of struggle and patience of individuality and the collective Vladimir Kozlov has written a novel of uiet and ferocious intelligence an irresistible read for anyone with even a passing interest in the ways of the Motherland” Nathan Deuel author of Friday Was the Bomb“Other than Vladimir Kozlov I can think of no contemporary Russian writer possessed of uite the same keen unerring ear for the characteristic jagged pacing and sudden concatenations of “Soviet” parlance or someone gifted with a comparable sharpness of. USSR Diary of a Perestroika Kid is a well written novel but it's definitely not for everyone I've read several novels set in the Soviet Union which almost romanticize the times this fictional memoir does not do that and as such portrays all the depression uncertainty and stagnation from the eyes of a young boy living it It took me a while to get into the story and to be honest initially I hated it and found it really dull and disjointed but after a while I started to appreciate what Kozlov was getting at in his workIn this ugly and unsettling story of the life of a person struggling to understand the world around them there is a sort of dark charm Mixed with teenage rebellion coming of age elements and bits and pieces of Soviet culture USSR is an oddly likeable book in its own right I would however recommend that its English edition find a new translator The translation of this novel was very poorly done and I think if it were re translated better it might be easier to understand and enjoy