Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Golden Calf Paperback – December, 2009
|New from||Used from|
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. A hilarious blend of absurdist, futurist and surrealist sensibilities, this new (and only complete) translation of Ilf and Petrov's novel following The Twelve Chairs, first serialized in 1931, is a highly animated tale of a con artist's journey through the cities and hinterlands of Soviet Russia. Part anarchist, part Quixote and part jester, grand strategist Ostap Bender, along with his lackeys, rides through the country in a yellow jalopy in search of the elusive secret millionaire Alexander Koreiko. Along the way, a superabundance of wild, arresting images and uncanny scenarios materialize, from an elaborate bureaucracy housed in a former hotel where the white bathtubs were filled with files, to the introduction of a puzzle maker attempting to make a riddle out of the word industrialisation; from the sight of doormen selling white-striped watermelons by their doorways to the use of a telegram machine missing a letter. It's an invigorating journey through innumerable paradoxes, dreams and burlesque routines, and though it's intensely chaotic (at times to dizzying effect), this is a finely translated edition of a triumphant literary experiment. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"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 classicsThe 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
If you’re the author, publisher, or rights holder of this book, let ACX help you produce the audiobook.Learn more.
Top customer reviews
Anyway, having read them all, carefully, comparatively and cover-to-cover, I can say this with absolute assurance: no matter which you read, if you're reading solely for pleasure, you'll get an accurate representation of the book. To be sure, each iteration carries its translator's/translators' imprimatur, but all are similar of tone and content (notwithstanding that some of the early translations are not quite as complete, which matters more academically than aesthetically). None is perfect, but none shortchanges you.
In making consumer comparisons, one should probably dispense with the first version of THE TWELVE CHAIRS (published as DIAMONDS TO SIT ON) by Elizabeth Hill and Doris Mudie, and the first of THE LITTLE GOLDEN CALF (under that title) by Charles Malamuth, both from the 1930s, long out of print and likely never to be reissued. Which leaves John C. Richardson's versions of both THE TWELVE CHAIRS (still in print and available as a free download at one of the open library sites, having apparently slipped into the public domain) and THE GOLDEN CALF (under that title), which is out of print but "gettable" via antiquarian sites, in paperback and (sometimes expensively) in an omnibus edition with CHAIRS, called THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES OF OSTAP BENDER. And of course the new translations: THE GOLDEN CALF by Konstantin Gurevich & Helen Anderson, THE LITTLE GOLDEN CALF by Anne O. Fisher, and Ms. Fisher's even newer version of THE TWELVE CHAIRS.
For the smoothness of the read, and the best delivery of natural-sounding, idiomatic English, Richardson is a little subdued (perhaps because he's British, and too because his work reflects his era, the 1960s) but sturdy, dependable and above all entertaining. Reading either book -- again, if pleasure or expanding your world literature horizon is the goal -- you can't go wrong.
However, his is not the liveliest, most energetic job of prose and dialogue; that honor goes to Gurevich-Anderson's THE GOLDEN CALF (2009). But comparing their version to others, it would seem less accurate to the letter of the text than the spirit of the text (but not so interpretive that it distorts). There's a conscious effort here to eschew all vestiges of archaicism and make the prose sound not updated but contemporary.
Anne Fisher's versions of THE TWELVE CHAIRS (2011) and THE LITTLE GOLDEN CALF (2009) would seem to be the most academically accurate, but the trade-off is that they're not consistently *as* entertaining, and sometimes sacrifice liveliness on the altar of literalness. But the entirely worthwhile trade-off, to those for whom such is important -- and it was for me -- is that her books trump the others easily for scholarship. Introductory essays, appendices of detailed footnotes, in CALF an extra appendix flagging some of the Ilf & Petrov phrases that entered everyday Russian speech, are rich and valuable sources of information and provide the widest possible context for a Western world reader.
Don't be sucked in by any of the "translation smackdowns" you may find online or at Amazon regarding these titles. (i.e. while it's true that Ilf's daughter, Alexandra, authorized the Gurevich-Anderson translation of CALF, she nonetheless wrote her foreword for the Anne Fisher translation; and another for Fisher's CHAIRS.) No version is a bad choice. But knowing what each version has to offer should help you decide on the one(s) that you'll find most gratifying.
The descriptions in this book are both satirical and deep; there are hundreds of tiny details put in by the authors about the appearances of characters and places. These are masterfully done, and never weigh down the tone of the novel itself - just when things seem like they might drag the story takes off just as quickly as the automobiles in it. There are many humorous little moments, from interactions between the characters to conversations "overheard" by them and the situations they end up in.
The different dreams and ambitions of the members of this sordid little plot range from grandiose to mundane, and nothing ever ends up feeling cookie-cutter in this novel. It is well worth a read, and even if (when coming from a Western perspective) you feel a little confused at times in regard to the setting the authors had the vision to make sure the Golden Calf brings you into the world of the USSR.
It is uncanny the validity of the observations to the present situation. Highly entertaining and thought provoking!