Hand

Yuz Aleshkovsky, Author, Iuz Aleshkovskii, Author, Ruth Aleskovsky, Author
Yuz Aleshkovsky, Author, Iuz Aleshkovskii, Author, Ruth Aleskovsky, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $22.95 (274p) ISBN 978-0-374-16770-7
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
A running scatalogical monologue directed by a KGB executioner at one of his victims, this second novel by the author of Kangaroo is so cleverly written and hilariously funny that it demands to be read in one sitting. Colonel Bashov, nicknamed ``The Hand'' for his strength and skills as interrogator, executioner and sometimes confessor, has finally built a case against Citizen Gurov, a member of the communist elite who participated as a young Chekist in the brutal murder of Bashov's father and other residents of his village. Crackling with dark humor, the narrative demonstrates how Bashov, devoting his life to tracking down the murderers, manipulated modern Soviet history to concoct cases through half-truths or lies. When not interrogating Gurov, trying to get him to confess to the murder of his mistress, Bashov digresses into his own past, his childhood spent in the Anti-Fascism Children's Home and his subsequent rise to the secret service. Toward the novel's end, Bashov, subject to visitations from his long-dead father, goes through a religious conversion and is faced with a Dostoyevskian dilemma--let go of his revenge and perhaps obtain heaven, or eliminate Gurov and go to hell. (Mar.)
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