Our Golden Ironburg: A Novel with Formulas

Vasilii Pavlovich Aksenov, Author Ardis Publishers $0 (254p) ISBN 978-0-88233-559-9
Aksyonov is one of the talented generation of writers who gained notoriety in the 1960s and '70s for an experimental style of writing, bitterly criticized by the Soviet publishing establishment as ``neo-realism.'' The author's satirical, topical approach found its mark with the novels Tare of Barrels and The Burn. This effort, written in 1972, was not published in Russia. In its first English translation, the author's brand of modernism, full of anti-heroes (and an anti-author), straight narration, broken by dreams, forays into the past and nonsensical song lyrics, combined in what can only generously be termed a novel, seems skewed and mannered. But the real problem with the book, which loosely chronicles the lives of members of a leading scientific research center in Siberia--brilliant bad boys who play adolescent pranks while searching for a ``peep-hole into eternity''--is that all the inside jokes, puns and satirical references are incomprehensible to the average American reader, whose understanding will be further impeded by Akysonov's self-indulgences. The book remains too insular to reach a foreign audience. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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