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The Fierce and Beautiful World

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  175 ratings  ·  22 reviews
This collection of Platonov's short fiction brings together seven works drawn from the whole of his career. It includes the harrowing novella Dzahn ("Soul"), in which a young man returns to his Asian birthplace to find his people deprived not only of food and dwelling, but of memory and speech, and "The Potudan River," Platonov's most celebrated story.

In December 2007 The
Paperback, 264 pages
Published May 31st 2000 by NYRB Classics (first published January 1st 1970)
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Jim Elkins
As the New York Review of Books list gains volume, it also takes shape. Russian and French avant-garde works mix with mid-twentieth century American fiction, with an emphasis on Jewish-American themes, World War II memoirs, and women writers. It's a version of the "New York Review of Books" itself, with an admixture of Bookforum-style internationalism. By printing central and Eastern European avant-garde fiction along with some surrealism, the series also replicates the conventional interests of ...more
Jan 03, 2008 Nathaniel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
I grabbed this book because Nadezhda Mandelstam esteemed Platonov highly and because a quick scan of its pages didn't dissuade me.

I was completely unprepared for how wonderful it is and I feel like reading it while I was traveling wasn't even fair. This has immediately shouldered its way into the ranks of my favorite books (of all genres, ever) and I am about to set off on a massive Platonov jag to see if there is more to love.

Anyone who thought McCarthy's "The Road" was special, should read "D
Ben Winch
I sense (and translators attest to) great problems in translating Platonov. Nevertheless this is powerful stuff - some of the heaviest writing I've ever read, and shot through with moments of beauty that defy both the stark moonscapes described and the leveling effect of the translation. Like any poetry in translation, these stories will probably never shine as brightly in English, but shine they do. And thanks to their author's big heart, even when they are heartbreaking they are never cold.

Chuck LoPresti
Deeply disturbing, powerfully insightful and highly memorable. Platonov has an almost non-literary style that reminds me at times of Walser, Shalamov, Grin or Hamsun. Platonov's Fro would be completely incapable of mustering any romantic defense against Hamsun' Thomas Glahn character from Pan.

It would be hard to usurp Shalamov's role as the ultimate writer of soviet death because after reading his Kolyma Tales I felt that I had already died a few times in the process. But if someone did outdo i
Dana Huffer
Platonov is not well known in the States, and has only recently begun to resurface as one of the greatest writers of the Soviet period. This new collection, published under the name of one of Platonov's short stories ('V Prekrasnom i Yarostnom Mire'), contains the novella 'Dzhan' along with the stories 'Fro', 'The River Potudan', 'Homecoming', 'The Third Son', 'Aphrodite', and 'The Fierce and Beautiful World'. Each story is a gem all its own, highlighting a life within the apparatus of the brave ...more
I first read this book twenty years ago when the novella Dzhan moved me profoundly. Now I returned to the book with a different life and reading experience. In the edition I own, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, the Russian poet, has written a gem of an introduction, which is supplemented by the translator's note.

Here is one quote to give you the flavor of a Platonov story:

"But Fomin picked up some of the tiles which were still whole and put them in a neat little pile, as if he were getting ready for futu
“…anxious that her household goods should be intact because she had no other links at all with life or with other people. Since a person needs something to be thinking about all the time, it was clear that she was imagining something while she worked at her small, almost useless, tasks…” (51).
“…the old man was not asleep but just keeping his eyes shut as if he were saving his vision and didn’t want to waste his spirit on impressions of the visible real world” (64).
“But men live because they’re b
*Note for potential readers: the first story contains moments that might be triggering w/r/t molestation and sexual abuse*

My translation might have been bad, but I found that I didn't enjoy reading this as much as I imagined I would; it took me a long time to get through. Pretty grand and lofty without being grounded in characters or plots, so I wished for more philosophizing or more emotion but most often felt detached. The tone was sometimes really beautiful, and there are some stellar lines,
Mike Stillpoint
Fierce and beautiful Language

Platanov's book of stories includes seven tales ranging in length from seven to 114 pages. "Dzahn," the longest and the first in the book, is a dazzling display of imagery and empathy and is a must read for writers who have not yet tasted Platanov. In fact ,if this review were written exclusively for writers, I would rate the book as a "five" simply for the learning opportunity. Dzahn's plot is subtle and often submerged in description. The story reminded me of eatin
Jul 26, 2007 Fiona rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who can see beauty in emptiness
There are so many themes and under layers in the story to discuss, but I chose to concentrate on Nazar‚s compassion and his intention to save humanity from a miserable reality by bringing them happiness and utopiahis explanation for the meaning of life. One of the more beautiful descriptions were of the sorrowful animals with whom he could empathize (the camel and dog) and the sheep and eagles who unwittingly helped nourish the hungry people who ate without greed.

Ironically, Nazar, in Turkish, m
I had never heard of Platonov before, but since this book was part of the NYRB series I figured it was probably worth checking out. Platonov is obviously Russian, and this collection of short stories feels very much like a bunch of Russian stories. Platonov's Russia is bleak...vast landscapes, hunger and isolation for the rural areas, lovers and spouses continually separated by war and work in faraway places, and the obsession with machines of the period...especially trains. Our protagonists are ...more
Ik las de Nederlandse uitgave met 2 novellen vertaald door Charles B. Timmer in 1974.
De verborgen mens en De thuiskomst. De eerste en verreweg de langste, speelt zich af tijdens de burgeroorlog tussen de Roden en De Witten. De tweede beschrijft de thuiskomst van een Russische soldaat na de ' Grote Vaderlandse Oorlog'.
Bitterzoete verhalen, vol overpeinzingen over het aardse bestaan in de ongelooflijke, door de geschiedenis bepaalde omstandigheden van de Sovjet Unie. Beoordeel zelf wat je vindt v
As the editor Tatiana Tolstaya points out, Platonov's novels and stories are without any "plots". But by that you can enjoy the art of his prose - natural & refreshing, deep-to-the-earth. Platonov belonged to his generation of Russian literature, which found no heritage in the motherland today.
Very beautiful and warm prose, not exactly the norm for Soviet literature. Another trait that set these stories apart from writers like Gorky, Zoshchenko or Voinovich is a break from stark realism or satire into something vaguely magical realism (particularly the near-novella "Dzhan.")
So devasting and severe in language and event the effect verges on melodrama; at times, it's almost as though Platonov is parodying himself which I don't believe he is. Nevertheless, I read his prose for its poetry, which is consistently masterful.
Compared to other Soviet writers I have read, certainly more optimistic about the government and communism in the region at the time. They really did save the best for last in this novella and short story collection!
"But men live because they're born, not by truth or by intelligence, and while the heart goes on beating it scatters and spreads their despair and finally destroys itself, losing its substance in patience and in work."
Really liked it, mostly the first section. Found the second one challenging. I guess the 4 stems from a 5 for the first sectiona and 3 for the second. Beautifuly written.
Nov 28, 2011 Selena marked it as to-read
Recommended to Selena by: Francine Prose
when francine prose tells you to read something. you just do.
Slavoj Zizek meinte mal, Autoren wie Platonow hatten starken Einfluss auf sein Denken.
So far they're gorgeous!
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NYRB Classics: The Fierce and Beautiful World, by Andrei Platonov 1 4 Oct 23, 2013 08:35AM  
  • The Galosh
  • Conquered City
  • Memories of the Future
  • The Noise of Time: Selected Prose
  • The Queue
  • The Road: Stories, Journalism, and Essays
  • Amsterdam Stories
  • Peasants and Other Stories
  • White Walls: Collected Stories
  • The Dragon: Fifteen Stories
  • Yama: The Pit
  • Envy
  • The Golovlyov Family
  • The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin
  • Collected Stories
  • Incidences
  • Red Cavalry and Other Stories
  • The Family Mashber
Andrei Platonov, August 28, 1899 – January 5, 1951, was the pen name of Andrei Platonovich Klimentov, a Soviet author whose works anticipate existentialism.

Although Platonov was a Communist, his works were banned in his own lifetime for their skeptical attitude toward collectivization and other Stalinist policies.

His famous works include the novels The Foundation Pit and Chevengur.
More about Andrei Platonov...
The Foundation Pit Soul Chevengur Happy Moscow Чевенгур. Котлован. Рассказы

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“He walked around all the useless things in the courtyard and touched them with his hands; for some reason, he wished that these would remember him, and love him. But he didn't believe they would. From childhood memories he knew how strange and sad it is after a long absence to see a familiar place again, for these unmoving objects have no memory and do not recognize the stirrings of a stranger's heart.” 11 likes
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