Last week, Freight Books read…

Death and the Penguin, by Andrey Kurkov


Death and the Penguin is wonderfully surreal. Victor, the protagonist, is a an aspiring writer living on his own in a flat in Kiev. Well, nearly on his own. There is also the Penguin, Misha, who Victor bought from the zoo when they were strapped for cash after the break-up of the Soviet Union. They live together quite happily, Victor feeding Misha frozen fish and Misha shuffling about sounding rather depressed. 

Then Victor gets a job writing obituaries for a newspaper and things change. Suddenly he has steady money, and even makes a friend or two, but the the people he is asked to prepare obits for start to die. Misha gets a job too, as a silent companion at funerals. 

If that hasn’t got you intrigued then I don’t know what is wrong with you. It is great. I’ve yet to read any more by Andrey Kurkov, but he has jumped to the upper reaches of my shopping list. 

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