Moscow to the End of the Line
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Moscow to the End of the Line

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  3,254 ratings  ·  133 reviews
In this classic novel of Russian humor and social commentary, a cable fitter is fired from his job after accidentally sending out detailed graphs charting his coworkers' productivity against the amount of alcohol they consumed.
Paperback, 164 pages
Published July 1st 1992 by Northwestern University Press (first published 1970)
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Crime and Punishment by Fyodor DostoyevskyAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Best Russian Literature
45th out of 348 books — 1,362 voters
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovOne Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr SolzhenitsynDoctor Zhivago by Boris PasternakWe by Yevgeny ZamyatinHeart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov
Best Russian (Soviet 1917-1991) Literature
15th out of 147 books — 145 voters

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Community Reviews

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If dialectical materialism were turned on its head, something like angels would probably fall out. If you got drunk enough to cross Moscow a thousand times without ever seeing the Kremlin, something like freedom would happen, despite the State. If poky old Petushki became Eden, just because you loved and it was there, materialism would be turned right side up again, but with the angels left in. That’s Erofeev, whose incredibly Russian cocktail of sadness & joy, shame, spirituality, and sensu...more
Sarah Keliher
Imagine a drunken Dante on an epic railway journey to nowhere, pondering the merits of various cocktails made from furniture polishes and solvents, debating the meaning of life and the worth of his soul, hilarious and tragic by turns. That'll give you a rough idea of what it's like to fall into this book. A delight every time I reread it.
Oh, crap, another Russian writer without a beard! It always makes me so sad. Like seeing a squirrel without a tail. It seems unnatural, unfair. Freakish.

I'm impressed by his attempt at a Clark Gable 'stache though.

So in the little bit of research I did on this book I found that it's considered a "postmodernist prose poem" which I didn't necessarily pick up on while I was reading it. (The "poem" bit, I mean - the "postmodernist" part was quite evident.) Now I'm not sure what to think. I feel like...more
If an epic can be brief then this is one – Erofeev’s drunken journey to the end of the Moscow train line, stuffed with thoughts and ponderings true, tragic and hilarious. The first thing that strikes the reader is the overriding compulsion to make sense of the world – to catalog, categorize and assign values to things. It starts in on page one and pretty much follows on every page:

“One of my acquaintances says that Coriander vodka has an antihuman effect on a person; that is, it strengthens all...more
He's a drunken fucker with alcohol veins instead of blood. I like one of his disturbing recipes: medicine for a toothache. Find wild strawberries (whole plant with berries and roots) and one mole. Take the root of that strawberry and press it against the rotten tooth while you suffocate the mole with your other two fingers. This recipe goes in the same category as the joke I heard when I was little: what is the difference between the elephant's ears and a yoghurt? Yoghurt can be liquid. It’s bee...more
"And since then I have not regained consciousness, and I never will"

Venichka Erofeev never regained his full literary power after he finished this small book. Everything he had in his delicate beautiful sensitive soul, he expressed in this "poem", although it's written as a prose.
His friends saw only allegiance in his drunkenness, he never cherished alcohol itself, but yet he created the greatest hymn to drinking as a way of life.
"Moscow to the End of the Line" is a very funny book, there's a...more
Stumbled on this one by accident at the library. Don't start it without a bottle of hard alcohol nearby. This book is a hallucination.
Jan 25, 2008 lisa_emily rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Russophiles, aspiring alcoholics
Funny & sad at the same time-people drink because life becomes too unbearable. Strangely it is the drink that keeps the narrator going. Caution: leave the drinking to professionals, especially if the drink calls for shoe polish.
Valentina Chugunova
I've read this book 'bout 1 000 times. It's ultimate answer to your pain, depress and even happiness.
This was a fascinating book, published 'samizdat' in the 1970s. All over the place, the drunken tumbling thoughts of a complete alcoholic, trying to get from Moscow to Petushi at the end of the metropolitan train line.... the recipes for drinks alone worth the price of the book. Here's one:
"Labor's crown is it's own supreme reward," as the poet said. In any event, I present to you the cocktail "Bitches Brew," a beverage which overshadows all others. This is more than a beverage--it is the music...more
Amazing book :)))) For me it was hilarious and tragic, illuminating and devastating at the same time.

I really enjoyed Erofeev’s humor, which was based on paronomasia, or play on words. The grace, with which he interlaces words into most elegant and unobtrusive humor, was amazing and captivating. It is hard for me to judge, but I think that the novel in general and its humor in particular, might be hard to understand for people who is not closely familiar with everyday life of regular Russian peo...more
One of the most *beautiful* books I've ever read, hands down. Through a haze of alcohol, Soviet repression, and the hypnotic rhythm of a subway journey, Erofeev turns his drunken slapstick into brilliant satire, his own maudlin self pity into the lyrically transcendent.
The book is a tragic-comic account of the narrator's (fictional?) trip from Moscow to Petuschki. The first half of the book isoften very funny. The narrator's biggest worry is how to get his next drink - in fact, I don't think I've ever read a book in which anyone ever had that many drinks. And the characters drink everything: they even mix their own cocktails adding for example petrol or nail polish!
The book also talks a lot about the drinking habits of several authors (mainly Russian ones). I...more
Andrew Alper
Venedikt Erofeev wrote two books, of which Moscow to the End of the Line was first. The second book was misplaced before it could be published, or even distributed via samizdat network.

"Moscow-Petushki," the original title, chronicals the travels, both psychological and psychological, of Venya, a 30 year old "Kid" who has recently lost his job as the supervisor of a cable fitting crew who spent all of their labors laying a single section of pipe over and over again. They worked so slowly that t...more
some of the humor was way over my head- mostly due to our cultural differences- but the story winds itself into such a fury that i had to stop over analyzing the russian dialect and submit to the madness... it is absurd and fierce. the way Erofeev slays professionalism is especially hilarious. the world we know that is filled with importance and drama is torn a new one. this book is a mockery of YOUR "epic" proportions... i am savoring the discomfort i had upon finishing the book and look forwar...more
In these difficult times, every penny counts. Which is why this volume, and its half-dozen recipes for cocktails made from shoe polish, is indispensable.
Hilarious book. I was chuckling to myself almost the entire book. The narrator is drunk, in varying degrees, the entire book. In fact, the structure of the book breaks down near the end and becomes nearly incoherent in tandem with the narrator's increasingly delusional state.

There is also an undercurrent of social commentary. Most of the characters encountered are alcoholics, including (especially) authority figures. The society fleetingly portrayed is a bleak, despairing place where alcohol is...more
Moscow Stations is on of the most fascinating literary works of late Soviet literature. Sub-titled 'a poem', this novella is indeed poetic and dense, mixing autobiography, fantasy and hallucination in the tragic life of the narrator, a homeless and occasionally-employed alcoholic, who wanders the Moscow streets and subway system forever in search of the next drink, and haunted by the dream of a beautiful woman he has apparently promised to meet at one particular station which he never seems to b...more
Lorenzo Berardi
Provocative travelling novel. Particularly indicated for methodical boozers or alternatively to dedicated followers of pretty much subterranean Russian literature during the last communist years. If you're both, well this book may suit you best.
Please, serve your own drink and follow me as far as you can get.

I praise Erofeev. He finally made me learn the importance of choosing the right vodka among hundreds. Thumbs up for Venedikt! Now I know I was wrong and superficial. Yet, unfortunately I st...more
I had heard good references about the book. I heard that it is a peculiar test of intelligence and humor. Could I miss the opportunity to join the circles of people with unconventional thinking, peculiar humor and refined taste?
No, no, I couldn’t.
And the book had been waiting on my Kindle for a while, the soul was sad and journey long. So on my bus from Liepāja to Rīga, I let Venichka share the path. But what a shame, what a disaster. I think I didn’t get the book. Even more, I don’t remember...more
Mar 04, 2014 Jan-Maat added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who are not always sober
Not a book for teetotalers and because of that maybe the best book about Brezhnev's Russia imaginable. But if you are the kind of person who has ever got drunk with friends, stormed a police station and then declared war on Norway then you will find much here that is familiar.

It's a book rich in allusion starting from the title (Moscow to Petushki) and structure, which are reminiscent of Radishchev Journey from St.Petersburg to Moscow, but also in cocktail recipes (all of which are firmly in the...more
I found this, of all places, in a small used bookstore in Alaska about 10 years ago, and read it in a day. A drunken juggernaut which laughs and sobs as only a drunk can, this novel (which has also been classified as an epic poem by some, though it is written in prose) is the story of an out-of-work drunk in the USSR; he catches a train for a small village outside of Moscow, where his apparent beloved apparently lives. The bulk of the novel takes place on this train ride, with what amounts to a...more
Не рецензия - ощущение...

Этот текст в первый раз я читал сказочно давно, году эдак в 1985, разумеется, в самиздате. Тогда он на меня произвёл просто шокирующее впечатление. Хотелось и смеяться, и плакать одновременно. Виделась мне в этом тексте и глубина человечности, и бездна, так сказать, общекультурных смыслов. А Веничка воспринимался чуть-ли не как мессия. Русский народный такой мессия: "Вышел, чтоб идти к началу начал. Но выпил и упал - вот и весь сказ" (с) БГ

Книгу я перечитываю раз пятый...more
Razvan Zamfirescu
Am citit multe cărți despre experiențe bahice, cu substanțe psihotrope sau halucinogene. Toate au fost interesante ca și experimente literare însă puține au, cu adevărat, o valoare literară. Oare unde să încadrez acest mic roman?
Moscova-Petuski a lui Venedikt Erofeev este un dezmăț bahic, un înec al sufletului în alcool, un bilet doar dus pe drumul neclar și nesigur al lumii văzute prin fundul unei sticle goale de votcă. Un adevărat poem în versuri dedicat tuturor bețivilor care au înțeles și su...more
A quick read that combines Gogol's humor with Bulgakov's surrealism. Finishing the novel actually didn't take much longer than the two hours it took the protagonist to reach Petushki station. My only complaint is that I wish the publishers had included an analytical essay in this copy, because at times it was hard to follow the author's meaning and an essay from a Russian literary expert would have helped.
Świetna książka obrazująca rosyjskie delirium, które stale jest obecne w życiu Rosjan (po pierwszy od II wojny światowej zaczyna brakować w Rosji mężczyzn umierają z powodu picia alkoholu kiepskiego/nieznanego pochodzenia oraz chorób związanych z nadużywaniem alkoholu). I chyba to delirium powaliło/pozwala Rosjanom trwać zupełnie niezależnie od ustroju.
Bogusław Muraszko
Miało być tak trochę dla odmiany, dla rozrywki, w ramach klimatów rosyjskich. Wrzuciłem na ruszt dawno nie używanego iPoda i odsłuchałem audiobook-a "Moskwa-Pietuszki" w genialnej interpretacji Romana Wilhelmiego. Nie dość, że sama książka jest niezwykła to w wykonaniu nieśmiertelnego Dyzmy, wręcz obezwładniająca. Na początku bawi i wręcz śmieszy. Ale z czasem zaczyna przerażać. I ten koniec... Brrrrr.
Chyba tylko Rosjanin mógł coś takiego napisać. Chlanie, majaki, kac, rzyganie, wizje, filozofow...more
Loved this book. It is crazy, rambling, and very poignant. One of my fav quotes:

"Everything should take place slowly and incorrectly so that man doesn't get a chance to start feeling proud, so that man is sad and perplexed."

A lot of other reviews compared Erofeev's book to Gogol--mental note to read some Gogol.
Mel Reusché
I am going to go back and do a proper review for this later.... but just for now I want to say that this book becomes even more poignant when read in tandem with Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich for they present the two authors' reactions to the Soviet state against one another.
Unfortunately had to return this to the library before I could finish it. I'd like to get back to it - will probably try to get on the wait list (there's a wait list for it at NYPL!) when I'm done with school. If you like Russian literature you should get on the train.
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Venedikt Vasilyevich Yerofeyev (Венеди́кт Васи́льевич Ерофе́ев), was a Russian writer.

He managed to enter the philology department of the Moscow State University but was expelled from the University after a year and a half because he did not attend compulsory military training.

Later he studied in several more institutes in different towns including Kolomna and Vladimir but he has never managed to...more
More about Venedikt Yerofeyev...
Записки психопата Вальпургиева ночь Mosca-­Petuški e altre opere Венедикт Ерофеев. Собрание сочинений в 2-х томах. Том 1 Записные книжки

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“Oh, that most helpless and shameful of times in the life of my people, the time from dawn until the liquor stores open up!” 5 likes
“О, эфемерность! О, тщета! О, гнуснейшее, позорнейшее время в жизни моего народа – время от закрытия магазинов до рассвета!” 3 likes
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