The Return

returnBy Andrey Platonov.

An absolutely fantastic collection of short stories. Usually I don’t enjoy shorter works. I always feel as though it is a ‘greatest hits’ album where the songs may be fine in their own right but they are the compositions made more palatable for the audience because they have to have the immediacy of a three minute pop song and in the end ‘shift units’. The stories (or songs) usually have no real link between them. The  prose pieces in the Return all work together. There is the same atmosphere found in Platonov’s novels. The works are pervaded by a melancholy strangeness coupled simplicity of prose which focuses on working people and the difficulties of existing. There is hope in each story, even though it may not be immediately apparent, shown by the incredible resilience of ordinary people and their ability to care.

It is interesting that the only other collection of stories that I have enjoyed as much as this, Stasiuk’s ‘Fado’, had strong thematic links between the works also. This has left me pining for more Platonov novels so until the final two are translated I may have to read ‘Soul’ again and perhaps the newer translation of ‘The Foundation Pit’. Platonov was a genius.

Soundtrack: The Chills – Pink Frost

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