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The Milkman in the Night

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  288 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Semyon is disturbed. He has woken up in the living room with blood on his shirt, an angry wife and no idea where he was the night before. After waking to find his boots and overcoat damp on several mornings in a row, Semyon realises his excursions are a nightly occurrence. Concerned for his own safety and for the security of his marriage, he asks his friend and business pa ...more
Paperback, 474 pages
Published August 4th 2011 by Harvill Secker (first published 2008)
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Feb 16, 2016 Tony rated it really liked it
Shelves: russian, ukranian
Semyon walked past several houses and huts with their lights on. He had a strange feeling that he was in some kind of imaginary parallel world.

Hey, me too!

But I don't mean in a sci-fy kind of way. So don't let the opening paragraph scare you off.

For all of you who read and loved Kurkov's cult classic Death and the Penguin ..... (Wait! What?) ....

Think a funnier, more hopeful Bulgakov, with a cat less satanic, more archangel of justice. Think Murakami wearing a ushanka, drinking vodka with brea
Nov 01, 2013 Malcolm rated it really liked it
After his last outing, The Good Angel of Death , with its absurdist expedition across the Ukrainian east and further afield, Kurkov returns to his more conventional stomping ground – an equally absurdist contemporary Kiev with its dislocated people, scrambling politicians, corrupt(ish) militiamen and craving for success while not seeming to recognise what that success might be. There are few I’ve encountered who are better at satirising the aspirational but the deeply conservative post-Soviet w ...more
Drayton Bird
Aug 04, 2013 Drayton Bird rated it it was amazing
I think I have read everything available by this gentleman.

There is a sardonic playfulness in his writing that seems unique - to me anyhow

The opening line of this book - "Deprived of human attention, the Milky Way was languishing in the winter sky" - besides being very funny is quite unlike anything I can recall.

Here he is talking about a sniffer dog at Kiev Airport, bored and disappointed at having found nothing interesting on bis shift: "As if to spite him, that morning's air passengers were u
Dec 28, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it
This is only the second of Kurkov's books that I've read but I do agree that he could be the Ukrainian Murakami, and I love Murakami. As well as enjoying the occasional marvellous sentence, especially the opening line, I also appreciated the insight into Ukrainian society. Looking forward to reading more Kurkov.
Nov 17, 2015 Kerry rated it liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book and revelled in the weirdness of it all. I thought the characters were well written and well rounded. However, considering all the things that were going on throughout the book, why was none of it explained? it just kind of had a happy ending and that was that as though the author had just got fed up with it all!
Dec 15, 2014 Jim rated it it was ok
A promising start, quite funny in places, but by the time I got to the end I was relieved that I'd finished it just because it meant I could start on something else.
"Der Milchmann in der Nacht" war mein erstes Buch des Autors und auch (soweit ich mich erinnere) das erste, das sich mit der Ukraine und den dortigen Lebensumständen befasst. Dadurch war ich sehr gespannt, wie das Buch mir gefallen würde... aber leider konnte es mich nicht wirklich packen.

Die Geschichte ist gut geschrieben und mir hat auch gefallen, wie sorgfältig der Autor die eher ungewöhnlichen Charaktere und das Figurennetz ausgearbeitet hat, aber die Handlung an sich kam mir stellenweise la
Jun 28, 2013 Caroline rated it really liked it
Kurkov writes a wonderful satire of corruption among politicians, priests, militia and security services in the Ukraine.

Dima, a sniffer dog-handler at the airport conspires with 2 bag-handlers to steal a suitcase, but they're not sure what to make of the contents when they finally get the suitcase open. Semyon, a security officer to a politician, realizes that he's been sleepwalking in the night but he can't remember where he goes or what he does during his nocturnal journeys. He's worried he ma
David Hebblethwaite
Oct 04, 2011 David Hebblethwaite rated it liked it
Ten years on from the English-language publication of his debut, Death and the Penguin, comes Andrey Kurkov’s ninth book. The Milkman in the Night (translated from the Russian by Amanda Love Darragh) tells of three main characters whose lives intertwine in contemporary Kiev: Dmitry, the airport sniffer-dog handler who finds a case of ampoules containing a substance which has a remarkable effect on those who consume it; Irina, the single mother who sells her breast milk for a living; and Semyon, ...more
Pep Bonet
I discovered Kurkov from a review in French radio France-Info. The Milkman in the Night received high praise. But I couldn't fdind the English version and tend to dislike French versions. Therefore I bought two the Penguin books by the same author: Penguin lost and Death and the Penguin. In particular the second one I found very interesting, with a nixe mixture of crime novel (mafias, crimes, etc.), political novel (corruption in the Ukaraine, war in Chechnya, etc.) and fine humour.
The Milkman c
Dec 26, 2015 Jan rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
Ukraine after the Orange Revolution. Viktor Yushchenko is President and Viktor Yanukovych is Prime Minister. Yulia Tymoshenko is waiting in the wings. Corruption is the default position, selective naivety a way to survive. Irina is a single mother who sells the breast milk she should be feeding her daughter with in order to get by. Egor is a security guard who tries to extricate Irina from the bizarre breast milk supply chain she's unwittingly at the centre of. Dima is a sniffer dog handler at t ...more
Kjetil Svarstad
Jan 13, 2012 Kjetil Svarstad rated it liked it
I forhold til hans to forrige bøker, "The President's Last Love" og "The Good Angel of Death", så er denne mye lettere, mer i tråd med hans tidlige ikke-pingvin-bøker som "The Case of the General's Thumb". Den er for all del morsom på Kurkov-vis, forunderlig på samme, og har en god del fine premisser. Spesielt en større mengde mennesker i Kiev som er søvngjengere og har etablert et liv og aktivitet om natta som de ikke selv er klar over om dagen. Rent bortsett fra å være sliten, at koner/menn er ...more
Jul 13, 2012 Luis rated it it was amazing
This is an immensely interesting book. Khurkov creates a lavishly surreal world that immerses the reader so completely that its only when you finish and take a step back that you begin to realize how absurd so many of the characters and situations are. But such is the skill of the novelist That this world is so alluring and you simply don't want to escape from it. The Milkman is a rambling meandering novel that for so long, the distinct tendrils that are the stories within a story seem to be unr ...more
Jan 03, 2012 Jasmin rated it liked it
I read every book to date by Kurkov and really love all of them. His dark, satirical humour is once again entertaining. There are three main characters in this book, all have their own story. Kurkov's strenght is to effectively introduce each character fairly well. Personally, i found the Penguin novels (Death and the Penguin and Penguin Lost) still the best books by Kurkov. The character development is a tag better in those and sometimes it felt a bit repetitive, especially Irina's story. (don' ...more
Jun 29, 2015 Jessiclees rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marco Moschetta
Sep 01, 2016 Marco Moschetta rated it it was amazing
This book is pure magic.
And it is also useful to really understand what happens in post-Soviet Ukraine.
Where the money, the power is.
And where the love is.
It is a sort of noir fairytale, it is a flight of fantasy - but it gives the reader a historical overview which is much better than a sociological survey.
And it is great fun as well.
Aug 13, 2012 Louis rated it really liked it
Shelves: russian
It's official - Kurkov is the Ukrainian Murakami. The resemblance is remarkable (I'm remarking on it): cats doing freaky shit, an unhealthy fixation on breasts, warped influences from classic crime fiction, inconclusive (some may say unsatisfying) endings, he's got it all.
Kris McCracken
Oct 03, 2012 Kris McCracken rated it really liked it
Andrey Kurkov is my favourite author of post-Soviet blackly comic, absurdist tales. This isn't really his best (a little too much telling rather than showing for my taste), but it is an enjoyable little romp through modern-day Kyev. C+
Sep 02, 2015 Sophie rated it really liked it
Very funny. A collection of interlinked, surreal narratives. Enjoyable, though I personally would have preferred longer sections of each, to be able to settle into each narrative a bit more. It jumps around a lot. Still recommend it :)
Yara Chalupa
Aug 30, 2012 Yara Chalupa rated it it was amazing
Reading this book I knew this is a fiction story. Nevertheless if it's about Ukrainian reality it can turn out to be true
Igor Clark
Still sprinkled with witty and nicely batty stuff but a bit turgid and a bit of a trudge compared to some of Kurkov's other works.
Mark rated it liked it
Jul 26, 2013
Serhiy Zlenko
Serhiy Zlenko rated it really liked it
Jun 01, 2015
Tom Chivers
Tom Chivers rated it it was amazing
Nov 27, 2014
Pialita rated it it was amazing
Aug 30, 2012
Bartlebooth rated it it was ok
May 17, 2011
Melissa rated it really liked it
May 10, 2014
Harriet Wegerhoff
Harriet Wegerhoff rated it liked it
Aug 12, 2011
S Sathya
S Sathya rated it really liked it
Oct 05, 2012
Ander Broadman
Ander Broadman rated it it was amazing
Jan 29, 2014
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Ukrainian writer writing in Russian. He was born in small town Budogoszcz in Leningrad area, Russia, but his family moved to Kyiv, Ukraine when he was young. In 1983 he graduated Kyiv Pedagogical Academy of Foreign Languages. Later he also completed a Japanese translation training. He started writing in age of six and he had a hobby of collecting cactuses - he collected nearly 1,500 of them. Ambit ...more
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