Among Animals and Plants
Andrey Platonov is perhaps the greatest Russian writer to have written of the worst years of Stalin's dictatorship. Robert Chandler, his translator, introduces a major lost talent. Platonov's novels (like The Foundation Pit) and stories (like Among Animals and Plants) tell of a whole country undergoing extraordinary changes. The impact of revolutionary upheaval is registered by Platonov in his remaking of the very language of his storytelling. In a world where utopia was promised the masses as they toiled in ghastly conditions in fear of what they thought let alone what they said or did, language is set adrift. Platonov noticed this and made stories from the terrfiying new world that manage to sound as if the world itself had been started again. 'Scum' Stalin wrote on the manuscript of one of Platonov's stories and he near disappeared from view and wasn't published properly in Russia until after the end of the USSR. And only now is he arriving in English, but his is a revelation worth waiting for.