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Moscow to the End of the Line Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: European Classics
  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press; Translated edition (July 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810112000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810112001
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian

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Customer Reviews

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Read it, then read it again (because the first time is only an acquaintance).
Anthony Jeswald (keswald@pipeline.com)
Highly recommended - I've read quite a lot of Russian literature, and I was surprised to find that there are such gems out there that I've never even heard of.
Ivar Dale
I understand it is regarded as one of the great works of Russian fiction of the second half of the 20th Century.
R. M. Peterson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

124 of 132 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Moskva-Petushki, which is translated in English as Moscow to the End of the Line, is Venedikt Erofeev's greatest work, one drunken man's (Venichka's) journey on the Moskovskaia-Gor'skovskaia train line to visit his lover and child in the Petushki. En route, Venichka talks with other travelers in dialogue and he also speaks in monologue about various themes such as drinking, Russian literature and philosophy and the sad, poetic soul of the Russian peasant. As the novel progresses, it becomes increasingly dark, disoriented, hallucinogenic and surrealistic, in proportion to the narrator's alcohol intake.
Moscow to the End of the Line was written in 1970. During this time, Erofeev, himself, was traveling around the Soviet Union working as a telephone cable layer. Erofeev's friends have said the author made the story up in order to entertain his fellow workers as they traveled, and that many of these fellow workers were later incorporated as characters in the book.
The text of the novel began to be circulated in samizdat within the Soviet Union and then it was smuggled to the West where it was eventually translated into English. The official Russian language publication took place in Paris in 1977. With glasnost, Moscow to the End of the Line was able to be circulated freely within Russia, but, rather than stick to the original form, the novel was abridged in the government pamphlet Sobriety and Culture, ostensibly as a campaign against alcoholism. Finally, in 1995, it was officially published, together with all the formerly edited obscenities and without censorship.
Although he is an alcoholic, Venichka never comes across to the reader as despicable.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Ivar Dale on July 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me by a friend who apparently read it my accident, and loved it. Now I've gotten a hold of it and read it too, and I'm disappointed only because there isn't more of it. I'd like to have three hundred or so more pages of the same stuff. A great mixture of humour and poetry, terribly funny and tragic at the same time. Highly recommended - I've read quite a lot of Russian literature, and I was surprised to find that there are such gems out there that I've never even heard of. Get it, read it, you won't regret it. At least not if there's some sense in you.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a sublime little tale, saturated with humor and pathos. Erofeev (both author & narrator have the same name, heightening the autobiographical tone of the book) is the Dante of the Moscow commuter rail. He stumbles from bar to bar and a purgatory of the 'thirteen varieties of Soviet vodka.' Then, it's onto the train, which takes him some thirty stops from Kursk station and 'The Hammer and Sickle' to the 'end of the line' at Petushki (which I'm told means 'flowers' in Russian) where he is to meet his Beatrice.
But (unlike Dante) Erofeev never seems to arrive. As he downs more and more hooch, the story becomes progressively more blotched and incoherent. It culminates in the Passion of Erofeev, in which our poor hero is driven up against the wall of the Kremlin (though whether its the Kremlin in Moscow or Petushki is unclear) and left screwed.
This is a story about mercy. Read it. It is easily one of the best books I've read in the past year. Then pass the word along, because it deserves to be better known.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Igor on August 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
I am Russian, and I am not so fluent in English, so beg you pardon. I highly recommend this book, together with Bulgakov this is the most lovely and admired writer in my country.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mark R. Olague on June 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
Ah, this book...a cherished one for me, pilfered from a friend who's father studied under Nabokov (but later given back). I read this under the serious spell of Knut Hamsun and this book is similiar to "Hunger" but perhaps more humorous. It's about an unemployed, alcholic cable fitter who is fired for charting diagrams of his comrades "idleness" correalated with the days they get drunk. Thrust into a serious drinking binge he is stuck on a train trying to reach Moscow and in between we have flashbacks of him trying to buy vodka before restaurants and stores have opened, giving us recipes of cocktails made out of aftershave ("Aunt Clara's Kiss) that brings on hallucinations and incredible verbal pyrotechnics full of literary ramblings and political rumblings. The whole time his hallucinations are marked by a pair of overcoated angels egging him on or chastising his behavior as he mixes up his route on the train forgetting to disembark and actually heading away from his destination. He finally does reach Moscow and the novel closes like a hand over a movie lens as abruptly as it started. It is a startling book, not only the best of the samizdat novels (works distributed like fanzines secretly during the communist regime) but by far the most dazzling comic novels ever written about desperation and alcholism. It is an incredible book and after reading it you will never have patience for another Bukowski book again.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is clearly one of the masterpieces of twentieth century Russian letters. Sometimes I cheer myself up just by reading the passage where the angels appear to Benny (the narrator) and far from giving him a glimpse of divine revelation, point out that there were certainly some bottles of red wine at the station buffet.
Erofeev was a gentle, witty drunk, immensely shrewd - he made a hilarious interview subject in a BBCTV documentary in the late eighties, retailing recipes for bizarre cocktails of vodka and air-freshener, despite the fact that cancer had stripped out his vocal cords. I don't know of any other works by him and wish I did. Legend had it he was working on a history of the Jews. Any tips?
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