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The Good Life Elsewhere Paperback – February 18, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A touching and hilarious chronicle about the age-old European yearning for one more chance. A chance that may never come ... " - Gary Shteyngart
 
"Vladimir Lorchenkov is a highly talented imposter - painting a colorful, bright, and crazy life in a benighted post-Soviet corner of the world." - Vedmosti
 
"This is a bleeding, wild work, grotesque in every twist of its plot and in every character, written brightly, bitterly, humorously, and ...  honestly." - Krupa.ru
 

“Outstanding ... darkly hilarious." — The Wall Street Journal

“A simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking tale.”
Publishers Weekly

“A touching and hilarious chronicle about the age-old European yearning for one more chance. A chance that may never come …”
— Gary Shteyngart

“Firmly in the great tradition of East European black humour and stands comparison with Hasek, Hrabal and Voinovich and will have you laughing – unless, of course, you are a sensitive soul.”
The Modern Novel

“The Good Life Elsewhere revels in absurdity, right down to the over-the-top satisfying end … Good — though occasionally also very dark — absurdist fun, by a talented writer.”
The Complete Review

“Original, both serious and comic, and, at times, tragic.”
Profile Magazine

“Vladimir Lorchenkov is a highly talented imposter – painting a colorful, bright, and crazy life in a benighted post-Soviet corner of the world.”
Vedomosti

“This is a bleeding, wild work, grotesque in every twist of its plot and in every character, written brightly, bitterly, humorously, and – paradoxically, as we’re dealing with the grotesque – honestly.”
Krupa.ru

“Is it possible for lovely Italy to take the place of both hell and paradise, as well as one’s most cherished dream? Vladimir Lorchenkov explores this possibility – in vivid colors, with a pamphleteer’s spite, and a good-humored smile.”
Literaturnaya Gazeta

From the Publisher

“Vladimir Lorchenkov is a highly talented imposter – painting a colorful, bright, and crazy life in a benighted post-Soviet corner of the world.” – Vedmosti

.

“This is a bleeding, wild work, grotesque in every twist of its plot and in every character, written brightly, bitterly, humorously, and – paradoxically, as we’re dealing with the grotesque – honestly.” – Krupa.ru

“Is it possible for lovely Italy to take the place of both hell and paradise, as well as one’s most cherished dream? Vladimir Lorchenkov explores this possibility – in vivid colors, with a pamphleteer’s spite, and a good-humored smile.” – Literaturnaya Gazeta

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: New Vessel Press (February 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1939931010
  • ISBN-13: 978-1939931016
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,392,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Vladimir Lorchenkov was born in Chisinau, Moldova in 1979, grew up in Trans-Baikal, the Kola Peninsula, Hungary, Belarus. At the age of 12 his family returned to Chisinau. He graduated from Moldova State University with a degree in journalism and worked in local media for eleven years. His first publication appears in the magazine "Novy Mir" in 2002 (afterwards in "Znamya", "Oktyabr', etc."). Winner of "Debut" award (2003). Laureate of "The Russian Award" 2008. Finalist of "Natsbest" award (2012). He is the author of 10 published books since 2004 to date. His works are translated and published in Serbia, Italy, Germany, Norway, Finland.

Владимир Лорченков, русский писатель. Родился в 1979 году в Кишиневе (Молдавия). Жил в Венгрии, Белоруссии, Забайкалье, Заполярье, Молдавии. Окончил факультет журналистики Молдавского государственного университета. Первая публикация - в 2002 году в журнале "Новый мир" (позже - публикации в "Знамени", "Октябре" и др.). Лауреат премии "Дебют" (2003). Лауреат "Русской премии" 2008 года. Финалист премии «Нацбест» (2012 год). Автор десяти изданных книг: сборник "Усадьба сумасшедших" (2004), "Клуб бессмертных" (2007), "Самосвал" (2007), "Все там будем" (2008), "Букварь" (2008), "Большой куш" (2008), "Время ацтеков" (2009), "Прощание в Стамбуле" (2009), "Галатея или последний роман для девственников" (2010), "Табор уходит" (2010). Переведен и издан в Сербии, Италии, Германии, Норвегии, Финляндии.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dan Harlow on October 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having spent years reading novels from Russia and Eastern Europe I've learned there is an odd, almost bi-polar lens people from this part of the world look at their own cultures through. In Miklós Bánffy's novel 'They Were Counted' we get a picture of Hungarians who, though fiercely proud of their heritage, are so caught up in pettiness, corruption, and tearing each other down that it's a wonder anything ever got done - and, in fact, nothing ever did get done. Jerzy Kosiński's 'The Painted Bird' (a book I detested) portrays all the Eastern European's as brutes and animals. In Béla Tarr's film 'Sátántangó' (another Hungarian) we get a portrait of a people continually drunk, living in the mud, poor, stupid, and easily taken advantage of by even the flimsiest pretexts. And in nearly all Russian novels, both classic and contemporary, there is always the underlying psychology of a people who are uncomfortable with themselves.

Alexander Herzen in 'My Past and Thoughts' explains this unease in comparing Russian insecurity to the rest of Europe: "They talk in Western Europe of our duplicity and wily cunning; they mistake the desire to show off and swagger a bit for the desire to deceive", about how the Russians feel insecure and inferior about their own peculiar culture vs Western Europe's supposed refinement."

In the book club which I took part in to read this book a comment was made about how someone felt the book was offensive, that people from that part of the world had too long been the butt of jokes. And while I agree continuing these stereotypes can only do harm, it is quite often the people from this part of the world who perpetuate it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book ought to be tragic - but it's not. It's not because you don't have time to feel the characters' pain. Whether they are sticking each other with pitchforks, being (possibly) mistaken for islamic terrorists and bombed by the navy, getting shot in the back while escaping or being burned at the stake by their fellow citizens, the tragedies come so fast that you don't really have time to feel much pity for them. Besides, after every catastrophe they get drunk, dust themselves off, and try again - unless they are dead.

What's most remarkable about these characters is that none of them have time to live where they are. They can only devise more and more complicated ways to escape to Western Europe. In the end "Italy" becomes more of a metaphysical goal for them - a state of grace - a place of security, such that some characters even suggest they could make "Italy" in Moldova. But given all the tragedy in the book, you can probably guess how that turns out.

Casual drunken brutality, daily despair, and ever-recurring hope, mixed with an occasional occurrence of magic - that's Moldova in this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Max on March 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
one of the funniest books i've read in years. wicked humor. like joseph heller and kurt vonnegut. definitely worth checking out.
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By CDR Floyd on September 17, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Such a premonition of whats going on today in Ukraine. Corrupt politicians and longing for belonging to the European Union.
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