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Soul

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4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  511 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Born in Central Asia Chagataev, the hero, goes on to be educated in Moscow. As an adult he is sent back to his birthplace as a kind of missionary, believing his people are 'lost in the desert' he goes to rescue them and lead them towards Communism. His mission becomes a search for happiness and, ultimately, Chagataev discovers that he needs their help as much as they need ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 3rd 2003 by Harvill Press (first published 1934)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,843)
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Geoff
"Soul" was one of the most interesting and strange allegories about the Stalinist era I have encountered. Desolate and desperate, but hopeful nonetheless, full of imagery vaguely reminiscent of Goya's more disturbing paintings. "The Return" was as gorgeous a story as I have read from twentieth century Russia. The other stories are also worth your time but these two are certainly the anchors of this collection.
Eddie Watkins
Fuckin great for the most part but one or two of the stories kind of fuckin suck.
Monte
I have my own bookshelf and the top shelf is designated for 5 star books. This is placed on there. This book is so awesome you can read it in one day. You'll forget to eat. "Soul" captures the human persona throughout a journey. I recommend it to all who are in desperate need of a five-star book, foreign literature and just mind-blowing prose.
Richard
I have read thousands of books mostly Russian. Platonov is in the top 5. Anyone who says he is " pro Soviet/ Stalin" must be shot, they are too idiotic to understand dark sarcasm. Irony. A man who had his 15 yr old son die from TB(and he in turn would contract it from his son, dying from it later) he contracted in a gulag did not love Stalin. A man who could not publish his work while Stalin was alive did not love Stalin. Are readers even educated anymore? Are they so uneducated from their hald ...more
Manfred
Reading the Russian Masters really makes you rethink the merits of all the pampered MFA candidates puking out lit-fiction lately in the States. Platonov's life is as fascinating as any of his stories - he struggled to publish, he was usually desperately broke and in need of medicines for various family members. His son was sent to the Gulag at age 15 and dead not long thereafter. Platonov himself was dead at 52, of the same TB that had killed his son But it is the stories that count the most - t ...more
Mark Sacha
Recently I've been led to discover a number of Russian writers, little-known in the West, who wrote under the Soviet Union with great clarity and impression. Platonov may be my favorite so far - in Soul, he and the Chandlers' team surprised me with how much they subvert expectations of what Soviet literature is capable of. The title novella reads like something between Borges and Cormac McCarthy with the epic sweep and alienation of Tarkovsky. It is a dark fable set in the deserts of Uzbekistan ...more
Jim
After having finished Andrei Platonov's Soul, I am beginning to think that Platonov may well be the best Soviet-era writer of fiction -- perhaps not quite on the same level as Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, but amazing nonetheless.

Half the book is taken up by the title story, about a Turkmen named Chagataev is abandoned by his starving mother, is taken as an orphan to Moscow to be educated, and returns to the arid region south of the Aral Sea to help his people. This he proceeds to do, as a loyal fol
...more
Troy
There's no doubt that Platonov can write, and generally I love stories that focus on the poor, but there are many things about "Soul" that I just don't like.

First of all, I can't get over the fact that Stalin is hailed - I mean, sure, Platonov would've been killed if he didn't hail Stalin, and sure, the main character doesn't really know anything about Stalin and just thinks of him as a benevolent Sky Father, but all the same Stalin is lauded.

Also, the book is named "Soul" and I'm bored by discu
...more
Tank Green
Jul 18, 2008 Tank Green rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the honest
Shelves: fiction
wow, what an achingly beautiful book...

it's full of such a mournful joy that tears shred me on more than one occasion. i found it hard that someone could say some of the things that he said. that he could voice such sadness in such a beautiful way, so that it was no longer sadness, but hope.

truly a fragile book...
Marian
Jan 16, 2008 Marian rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Liliana
I've been trying to read Platonov for years, but I never "got" him. It was even worse when people asked me to evaluate translations of him, because I had no idea what made him so special in Russian. All I knew was that he was odd. But not appealing.

On the urging of an editor I respect highly, who had read this book in college and been enchanted by it, I just read "Soul," the title novella of this volume, translated by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler.

Without his encouragement, I might not have las
...more
Rhys
I have been enormously privileged to discover a host of writers new to me in the past few years who have reinvigorated my love of literature. Of all these writers the best has been Andrei Platonov.

I can hardly express how wonderful I found this book of stories to be. Platonov was a real revelation to me. The opening story in this volume, 'Soul', which is actually a novella or short novel, is one of the finest pieces of literature I have ever read. It affected me deeply. I found it to be magical,
...more
Bilge Guler
"Çagatayev çocukluk anılarından ve Moskova'da aldığı eğitimden bilirdi ki, sömürünün her türlüsü insanın ruhunu sakatlamakla, onu ölüme alıştırmakla başlar, öyle kurulur egemenlik, başka türlü köle köle olmaz."

Muhteşem bir romandı. Platonov çok büyük bir yazar gerçekten.
Furkan Namlı
"Ruh ölmez" dedi. "Yabancılaşır. Kötünün iyi olduğunu düşünür. İçimizde sıkılır. Var olmayanı hayal eder ve asla var olmayacak şeyleri vadeder."
Darya Conmigo
We just had a visiting professor give a lecture on this novel a week ago, and apparently, the latest translation of Platonov's works into English was a collaboration between 20 (yes, twenty!) translators and scholars. I can see why. Platonov's Russian reminds me of a really good machine translation from some unknown language into human. Russian, as luck has it. It's almost a human language, just ever so slightly off, with beautiful brokenness in it. It's overwhelming too - try reading over a hun ...more
Sam
A classic. The main story is about a Turkmen man, educated in Moscow, goes back to his homeland to find his tribe and pull them out of ignorance and poverty. There are other, shorter stories in this volume, too. Wonderfully written, with a long introduction about how what appears to be Soviet propaganda, when closely read, is actually subversive, mocking the Soviet system.
Kara Brunk
This is the first book I have read from a pro-communism Russian author. The themes of societal good, the rise of the proletariat, and Stalin as "Father Russia" run throughout.


By the way, that 3-star is for you, Julie!
Burak Karakuş
One of the best books of my bookshelf. although written so symbolical, can still make reader feel how Çagatayev feels on the events that he has gone through and effects of them on him.
Nick Moran
Few people do pity and sorrow better than the Irish, but the next tier would certainly be the Russians. This book is haunting.
Tyler
Jul 19, 2012 Tyler rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone; Readers Interested in Socialist Realism
This book seemed a good place to get in idea of what a Soviet writer of literature in good ideological standing might write in the 1930s. What Platanov gives us is a series of short stories that provide a glimpse of what socialist realism in the arts was meant to do. His stories largely portray what a new Soviet man is or might be like. His writing is relatively free of the overt pro-Stalinist and pro-communist bombast for which Westerners came to ridicule the Soviet Union.

So often it's the case
...more
Dxarmbar06
Transformative. This was the first book I read upon moving to New York City and it completely revolutionized my view of the destruction of literature. I realized, no, literature isn't dying everywhere, only outside of New York--the epicenter of publishing. This is not a book for simple minds only looking to spend $5.99 on a BN paperback, this is elevated phraseology of a celestial caliber. TLDR For Patricians, not for Plebs!
David Rosenthal
Love this book like few other books in this world. The centerpiece is the novella "Soul", which is far and away the bleakest story I've read, and also one of the most beautiful. I've read it twice so far and will likely be re-reading it throughout my life. So bleak, so beautiful.
Brian Reinhart
Uneven collection of stories, but the best ones are truly Great, and the prose is always breathtaking. Platonov might rival Nabokov as my favorite prose stylist of the 20th century. Every paragraph contains something nobody has ever done before.
Ivan
Totally different from all the other books I have read.
Heavy, smoky, distant atmosphere where humans are without any humanity, those who lack all material goods (and have SOUL only) lack feelings and function based on survival only. Even a little girl, who silently stands rape since it will provide her some food. Mighty people, from government and those who are rich, on the other hand, lack any emotions for poor people and want to take them to total disaster and death. Together with the main he
...more
Argos
İlginç dili, müthiş doğa tanımları ile romanda değişik bir tat arayanlara...
Philippe Bernard
Mon premier contact avec l'oeuvre platonovienne. PLutôt déroutant, ce livre m'a rappelé par certains aspects descriptifs d'une peuplade nomade au mode de vie archaïque "le Rapt" de Frison-Roche. Par d'autres, j'y ai retrouvé une forme de surréalisme à la Boris Vian. C'est un livre au références et résonances multiples et qui doit se prêter à des analyses sans fin. Pour moi c'est avant tout une curiosité littéraire qui laisse un peu sur sa faim mais qui donne envie de découvrir d'autres ouvrages ...more
Nei1as
Çoğu cümle aklıma kazındı. Nadiren olur.


"O kadar fakiriz ki senin ve benim hiçbir şeyimiz yok, düşündüm ve gördüm ki bir tek sana olan sevgim var."

"ben de, sende kalanları severim o zaman,"

Çağatayev kendi kendine fısıldadı, gülümsedi ve son derece yoksul olsalar bile, memleketinde, iki insanın mutlu olabildiğine tanık olmaktan memnun uykuya daldı.
Daniel
This was kind of like the lovechild of Mikhail Bulgakov, Frank Herbert, and Cormac McCarthy. At least in my head at this late hour when I finished it. This was beautifully written, even in translation from Russian, which is difficult because so much just doesn't translate properly. I'm glad I have a new Russian writer to read!
Bill PETTIT
So far freaking awesome, loveliest Soviet Lit I have read. Ok so it was surpressed and only published 30 yrs after Platonov died, still the man had something important to say and says it so well.
Burak Karakuş
One of the best books of my bookshelf. although written so symbolical, can still make reader feel how Çagatayev feels on the events that he has gone through and effects of them on him.
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NYRB Classics: Soul: And Other Stories, by Andrey Platonov 1 6 Oct 30, 2013 06:39PM  
  • White Walls: Collected Stories
  • Unforgiving Years
  • Peasants and Other Stories
  • Forever Flowing
  • The Noise of Time: Selected Prose
  • Memories of the Future
  • The Golovlyov Family
  • Envy
  • Amsterdam Stories
  • The Galosh
  • Selected Stories
  • Collected Stories
  • The Queue
  • The Stray Dog Cabaret: A Book of Russian Poems
  • Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida (Penguin Classics)
  • The Petty Demon
  • Summer in Baden-Baden
6454067
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 Chevengur Happy Moscow The Fierce and Beautiful World The Return and Other Stories

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“Inside every poor creature was a sense of some other happy destiny, a destiny that was necessary and inevitable -why, then, did they find their lives such a burden and why were they always waiting for something?” 5 likes
“Everything in the existing world seemed strange to him; it was as if the world had been created for some brief, mocking game. But this game of make-believe had dragged on for a long time,for eternity, and nobody felt like laughing anymore.” 4 likes
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