Semyon is disturbed. He has woken up in the living room with blood on his shirt, an angry wife and no idea where he was the night before.
After waking to find his boots and overcoat damp on several mornings in a row, Semyon realises his excursions are a nightly occurrence.
Concerned for his own safety and for the security of his marriage, he asks his friend and business partner Volodka to follow him on his nocturnal wanderings.
The next morning, Volodka gives Semyon a full report.
He left the apartment a little after 2 a.m. and walked several blocks until he encountered a tall blonde, whom he kissed and accompanied to her door.
But when he visits the address in the daytime, the bemused Semyon doesn't recognise the location. And stranger yet, someone has been watching Volodka watching Semyon.
As the adventure unfurls, an unemployed sniffer-dog handler makes a dangerous discovery, a single mother provides breast milk for an unusual recipient, and a vengeful cat is on the loose.
All in all, there are some very strange goings-on in Kiev.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 480 pages
- Publisher: Vintage
- Publication Date: 14/05/2011
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781846553981
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by ten_floors_up
I read this a couple of months ago, so the detail isn't quite fresh in my memory. Unlike the last Kurkov novel I read (The case of the General's Thumb), it has stronger female characters and an addition to the Kurkov menagerie that's well integrated into the plot, rather than present as an embellishment. Characteristically Kurkov, characteristically off-beat.
Review by cameling
Kurkov writes a wonderful satire of corruption among politicians, priests, militia and security services in the Ukraine.Dima, a sniffer dog-handler at the airport conspires with 2 bag-handlers to steal a suitcase, but they're not sure what to make of the contents when they finally get the suitcase open. Semyon, a security officer to a politician, realizes that he's been sleepwalking in the night but he can't remember where he goes or what he does during his nocturnal journeys. He's worried he may have murdered someone during one of his wanderings, and asks his friend to follow him if he sees him leaving his house at night. Irina is a wet nurse at a milk kitchen even as her own daughter is raised on formula at home. A woman whose pharmacist husband was murdered one night, is reluctant to let him go, and, together with a friend whose husband had also recently passed away, decide to have their deceased husbands embalmed so they can bring them home and have them sit in their armchairs. But how are the soles of the slippers of her dead husband getting dirty and why are there footprints in the carpet in her living room? All these seemingly different stories are told in short segments very vividly, allowing the reader to follow along with their individual adventures, sorrows, frustration at life's challenges and also their joyous moments. There's a great deal of gentle humor with which the author sympathetically shares his characters with us, and it is this gentle telling of their stories that kept me riveted to the book. Oh and by the way, there's also a vigilante seemingly immortal cat on the loose.