The slynx

by Tolstai͡a, Tatʹi͡ana, 1951 May 3-

Format: Print Book 2003
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library First Floor - Fiction Stacks FICTION Tolsta︠i︡a
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - Fiction Stacks
Call Number  FICTION Tolsta︠i︡a
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Fiction TOLSTAYA
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  TOLSTAYA
In what remains of Moscow some two hundred years after the "Blast," a community persists in primitive, ridiculous, and often brutal circumstances. Mice are the current source of food, clothes, and commerce, as well as a source of humor for Tatyana Tolstaya. Owning books in this society is prohibited by the tyrant, who plagiarizes the old masters, becoming his people's sole writer. One of the tyrant's scribes, Benedikt, is the main narrator of The Slynx. He is in lovewith books as objects but is unable to derive any meaning or moral benefit from them. Like the imagined, feared animal of this rollicking satirical novel's title, Benedikt represents lust, cruelty, egotism, and ignorance. The Slynx and Benedikt are one.
As Pearl K. Bell wrote of Tolstaya's stories on the cover of the New York Times Book Review, "The blazing vitality of [her] imagination, the high-spirited playfulness . . . place her in that uniquely Russian line of satirists and surrealists." David Remnick has called her "the most promising of all the 'post-Soviet' writers . . . She sounds like no one else."
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Tolstaya, great-grandniece of Leo Tolstoy, presents Moscow 200 years into the future, after "the blast." What remains after nuclear devastation is a community of mutants. Those born afterward are often subject to "consequences" --a tail, claws, an extra eye. Mice are the mainstay of survival, and the people live out government-controlled lives, working in a workhouse, eating in an eating house, all controlled by an autocrat who presents works of literature as his own. Books from before the blast are forbidden, and Benedikt is one of the scribes who copies the prose and poetry put forth by the dictator as his own. As Benedikt slowly unravels the secret of books, his own love for art takes over. However, he isn't able to shake his own murderous lust for knowledge, and in his pursuit of the government's horde of literature, he eventually becomes what he most fears--he is the embodiment of the slynx, a mystical beast who pounces at any opportunity. Tolstaya's voice is imaginative and satirical, with a blend of sf post-apocalypticism thrown in. --Michael Spinella"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Though some may already consider contemporary Russia a kind of dystopia, things could yet be worse, as posited in Tolstaya's intelligent debut novel (after two acclaimed story collections, Sleepwalker in a Fog and On the Golden Porch). Some kind of nuclear accident has turned all of Russia into a postapocalyptic wasteland, where snow falls constantly and mice are the staple of people's diets. Moscow has been ruled by a series of petty despots, each of whom renames the great city after himself. The latest ruler is Fyodor Kuzmich, who employs vast numbers of scribes to copy his writings (actually plagiarized versions of great literary works). One of these scribes is Benedikt, a simple man who has never actually read a book. But Oldeners-people who survived the blast-keep secret libraries, and when one of them introduces Benedikt to his collection, it begins a cycle of learning that gives Benedikt serious political ambitions, enough to start yet another Russian revolution. It takes some time for a plot to develop, but Tolstaya sketches a vivid picture of life in this permanent winter ("Give black rabbit meat a good soaking, bring it to boil seven times, set it in the sun for a week or two, then steam it in the oven-and it won't kill you"). If the author's name looks familiar, it's because it is: Tolstaya is Leo Tolstoy's great-grandniece, so writing about Russian tyranny is something of a family tradition. In this extended fable, she captures the Russian yearning for culture, even in desperate circumstances. Gambrell ably translates the mix of neologisms and plain speech with which Tolstaya describes this devastated world. (Jan. 15) Forecast: Tolstaya is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and other journals, and this novel will likely benefit from its simultaneous publication with a collection of her essays (Pushkin's Children: Writings on Russia and Russians; Mariner). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Dystopias -- Fiction.
Publisher Boston :Houghton Mifflin Co.,2003
Other Titles Kysʹ.
Contributors Gambrell, Jamey, translator.
Language English
Description 278 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9780618124978 (hardcover)
0618124977 (hardcover)
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