Day of the Oprichnik

Vladimir Sorokin, trans. from the Russian by Jamey Gambrell, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $23 (208p) ISBN 978-0-374-13475-4
Even with gang rape; drugs in the form of intravenous fish; and a homosexual, Viagra-induced orgy with organs "refurbished" by the Chinese, the latest from the bad boy of contemporary Russian literature feels hollow. Set in a Russia two decades in the future, this sardonic day-in-the-life follows "oprichnik" Andrei Danilovich as he fulfills his duties as a henchman for the restored Russian empire. In due time he'll lead an assault on the mansion of an aristocrat who has run afoul of His Majesty, do illicit drugs with his cohorts, head out to a huge transport artery from China to Europe to shake down some foreigners, and finally meet Her Highness for cocktails in the palace bathroom. Though Sorokin is capable as usual in filling his fictitious Russia with satirical touches and buckets of grotesque humor, neither Andrei nor his peers ever develop into anything more than Clockwork Orange knockoffs, and Sorokin's political critique reads stale. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/06/2010
Release date: 03/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4299-9491-0
Paperback - 191 pages - 978-0-374-53310-6
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