THE STEEL BIRD & Other Stories by Vasily Aksenov

THE STEEL BIRD & Other Stories

Email this review


Aksenov's reputation in the Soviet Union as a sympathetic chronicler of the postwar generation is clearly confirmed by his breezy voice and technical inventiveness here (on Russian terms anyway: his prose techniques, by American standards, are not all that new). The title story--about a strange homeless young man who talks a building superintendent into letting him sleep in the elevator, then in short order takes over the vestibule and eventually the whole building--is a wacky, airy parable of Stalinist procedure. Even better, and more characteristic of Aksenov's talents, is the novella Oranges from Morocco. The lives of a half-dozen young workers on Sakhalin Island in the Far East are suctioned up together when a shipment of rare oranges arrives in port. Two of the men are in love with the same girl; the girls are high-spirited and sensitive and fresh. Out in Phosphate City, where they all work, these Russians seem almost free of the gloom back west. Relaxed and amused, Aksenov--latest in an estimable line of Russian doctor-writers--creates likable lives in motion. An especially worthy visit from abroad.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1978
Publisher: Ardis