Details

ISBN-10: 1934824070
ISBN-13: 9781934824078
Publisher: Open Letter
Publish Date: 12/15/2009
Dimensions: 8.50" L, 5.56" W, 0.72" H

The Golden Calf

Translator: Konstantin Gurevich
Translator: Helen Anderson

Paperback

Price: $15.95

Overview

A remarkably funny book written by a remarkable pair of collaborators.–New York Times

Ostap Bender, the grand strategist, is a con man on the make in the Soviet Union during the New Economic Policy (NEP) period. He’s obsessed with getting one last big score–a few hundred thousand will do–and heading for Rio de Janeiro, where there are a million and a half people, all of them wearing white pants, without exception.

When Bender hears the story of Alexandr Koreiko, an undercover millionaire–no Soviet citizen was allowed to openly hoard so much capital–the chase is on. Koreiko has made his millions by taking advantage of the wide-spread corruption and utter chaos of the NEP, all while serving quietly as an accountant at a government office and living on 46 rubles a month. He’s just waiting for the Soviet regime to collapse so he can make use of his stash, which he keeps hidden away in a suitcase.

Ilya Ilf (1897-1937) and Evgeny Petrov (1903-1942) were the pseudonyms of Ilya Arnoldovich Faynzilberg and Evgeny Petrovich Katayev, a pair of Soviet writers who met in Moscow in the 1920s while working on the staff of a newspaper that was distributed to railway workers. The foremost comic novelists of the early Soviet Union (invariably referred to as Ilf & Petrov), the pair collaborated together for a dozen years, writing two of the most revered and loved Russian novels, The Twelve Chairs and The Golden Calf, as well as various humorous pieces for Pravda and other magazines. Their collaboration came to an end following the death of Ilya Ilf in 1937–he had contracted tuberculosis while the pair was traveling the United States researching the book that eventually became Little Golden America.

Konstantin Gurevich is a graduate of Moscow State University and the University of Texas at Austin. He translates with his wife, Helen Anderson. Both are librarians at the University of Rochester.

Helen Anderson studied Russian language and literature at McGill University in Montréal. She translates with her husband, Konstantin Gurevich.

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Reviews

On the heels of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall comes a new translation of one of the most beloved and quotable Russian classics–The Golden Calf by Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov. This is the first version based on the complete and uncensored original, which was first serialized in 1931, and, unlike the two very truncated incarnations that came before, finally illuminates in full comedic and insightful glory the work of the writing duo from Odessa (pen names for Ilya Faynzilberg and Evgeny Kataev), whose iconic status in Russian literature is akin to that of Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the U.S.–Kseniya Melnik, The Brooklyn Rail

Ilf and Petrov's picaresque is packed with intricacies that resist summary. The authors exploit every character and complication to its fullest humor, in a wild tale driven in large part by Bender's rapid-fire language.-By Nicole Rudick, Los Angeles Times

The Golden Calf was translated into English shortly after its first serialisation in 1931, and then again in the early sixties. This new translation is the first English version to have gone to print unexpurgated. Translators Konstantin Gurevich and Helen Anderson have delivered a text full of glib energies and stylistic verve. While choosing to forego some of the language-based humour in the original text, Anderson and Gurevich show equal sensitivity to the novel's satirical mirroring of a new model society's hubris, and to its evocative vignettes of Socialist Russia.–Nick Terrell, The Ember

War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, and Doctor Zhivago weigh so heavily on Russian literature than many readers don't realize that there are some truly hilarious Russian novels. This classic picturesque is one of them.–K.H.Cuminskey, Library Journal

For students and scholars who studied Russian literature in the three decades of so before the collapse of communism, the works of Ilf and Petrov are remembered fondly not so much for their artistic viability as for their comic relief from the grim and grimy fiction in the early years of Soviet power. –Thomas Gaiton Marullo, University of Notre Dame

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Details

ISBN-10: 1934824070
ISBN-13: 9781934824078
Publisher: Open Letter
Publish Date: 12/15/2009
Dimensions: 8.50" L, 5.56" W, 0.72" H
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