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The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin
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The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin (Private Chonkin #1)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  977 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Ivan Chonkin is a simple, bumbling peasant who has been drafted into the Red Army. Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, he is sent to an obscure village with one week's ration of canned meat and orders to guard a downed plane. Apparently forgotten by his unit, Chonkin resumes his life as a peasant and passes the war peacefully tending the village postmistress's gar ...more
Paperback, 322 pages
Published November 1st 1982 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1969)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,937)
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Hadrian
Charming slapstick comedy about a dopey Ivan-the-Fool and his adventures in the Soviet Union right before the German invasion in 1941.

I laughed at the extreme situations that our Ivan finds himself in (view spoiler) but just the little throw away details are funny too. I laughed at the man in the beginning who has bread so hard and stiff he could cut things with it, and the very naughty ru
...more
Namrirru
Yikes! How does this have such a bad "rating?" This book is hilarious! Every sentence and every page is tickle your tummy funny. Voinovich channels Gogol's anti-hero Chichikov in Chonkin, a petty soldier sent to guard a broken down airplane in the middle of nowhere. His troubles start with a cow... and get more and more ridiculous!
Chuck LoPresti
Private Chonkin is breezy and hilarious read about a quixotic failure of a hero that serves as a compendium of communist dunderheads, snollygosters, lickspittles, boozers and bedpressers. A more complete catalog of nincompoopery – I am not familiar with. Voinovich’s piss-take on communist society should leave no attentive reader with a straight face. There’s little gravity in the style of Voinovich’s writing as he’s obviously focused on mockery. But style aside – unseating the power of communist ...more
Kobe Bryant
Very good book with a lot of cool moments like people having dreams about animals turning into people, the guy who was crossbreeding potatoes and tomatoes and made manure vodka, the old Jewish guy whose last name was Stalin, etc
Michael Scott
Vladimir Voinovich's Chonkin is a good foray into the Russian muzhik's (commoner's) psyche. Born and raised a farmer in Stalin's time, Ivan gets called to the army, where he embarks first unbeknowingly then unwillingly into an adventure that will change (spoiler: and end) his life. Chronicling this journey, the author gets to talk about the "joys" of real-Communism: indoctrination of simple people who can barely speak (not to mention write), formation of cliques for sharing the little local powe ...more
Jan-Maat
Chonkin a hapless, stupid soldier, is a classic Ivan from a folk tale who although simple and straight forward will win through in the end. Taken out of his environment and placed in another things look very different.

Sent to guard an aeroplane that was forced to land in a village, the dumbest soldier in the Red Army becomes the cleverest man for miles around. There he finds true love in the shape of the cleverest woman in the village. Alas the craziness of the world ensures that things rapidly
...more
Juan Hidalgo
Una estupenda historia en la que el soldado Iván Chonkin resulta que no es tan tonto como parecía en principio, y cuyas peripecias nos harán sonreír y hasta carcajearnos en alguna ocasión, al tropezar con la inefable burocracia rusa y la rigidez del sistema stalinista.

A su autor, este libro le supuso la expulsión de la sociedad de escritores de la Unión Soviética y más tarde la pérdida de su nacionalidad, y es que, aunque habían transcurrido 21 años desde la desaparición de Iosef Stalin, critica
...more
Josh Trapani
I wonder if Voinovich has been ill-served by his translators, because I've now read two of his - Monumental Propaganda and this one - and found them not nearly as entertaining as the book blurbs promise. Entertaining, yes. But deliciously hilarious and razor sharp witty? I'm sorry to say no. Here I was expecting something like a Soviet Catch-22 and this was not like that at all. This is not to say, by the way, that the book falls completely flat. After what struck me as quite a slow set-up, the ...more
Caroline
It must be that the language of the original cannot really be translated into English. Or else you have to be a lot more familiar with Russian history and individual politicians/soldiers to understand who is being parodied. I found this amusing but not as devastatingly funny and cutting as other reviews have stated.
Érika
It's one of the funniest and wittiest books I've ever read!
Li'l Vishnu
“Many people maintained that you could wake Gladishev up at midnight and pose him any question and that without even stopping to think, he would give a very detailed reply and would explain any natural phenomenon from the point of view of modern science without bringing in any otherworldly, divine forces...

“Though this would be difficult to verify now, it is said that it was actually Gladishev who, long before Professor Shklovsky, was the first to propound the theory that the satellites of Mars
...more
Shutterbug_iconium
Sovyet Edebiyatı’nın muhalif yazarlarından Voynoviç’in ‘Er İvan Çonkin’in Yaşamı ve Olağanüstü Serüvenleri’ 1974’de ilk kez Batı Almanya’da yayınlanıp kitap samizdat yoluyla Rusya’da çoğaltılınca yazarın kitapları ülkesinde yasaklandı.1966’dan bu yana insan haklarının ateşli bir savunucusu olan Voynoviç Soljentsin’i desteklediği gerekçesiyle Yazarlar Birliği’nden atıldı. Ömrünün sonuna doğru Putin’e övgüler düzen Soljentsin’in aksine, yakın zamanda dilimize kazandırılan Yaşam ve Yazgı’nın yayın ...more
Snafu Warrior
Mislim da ću formirati kompletno mišljenje o ovoj knjizi tek kad završim i ostale dve knjige(prvo moram naći i treći deo, s obzirom da ga nema u lokalnoj biblioteci) ali i sada mogu reći da je barem ovaj prvi deo prijatno osveženje.
Za razliku od prethodnih knjiga o WW2 koje su bile depresivno- ozbiljne, prikazujući surovost rata i snalaženje čoveka u tom haosu, ova knjiga okreće novu stranu, njen ton je šaljiv, satiričan uz izvrsno pripovedanje o Sovjetskom režimu nazad u danu, o rupama koje su
...more
J.A.
This is a book that I had to rescue from our clearance table. In one sense going clearance is a suitable end result for poor Ivan Chonkin, the bumbling peasant turned inept soldier, but this is an excellent book about the most unlikely of heroes. It is a hidden gem, disguised from the average customer by a clumsy title and odd cover art. Vladimir Voinovich is not a name that most readers would recognize either, but he was a daring and talented satirist. Having read some of his short stories as a ...more
Stu Moore
What an odd little book. I'm used to the grand Russian masters - Tolstoy & Dostoevsky - Voinovich is a pretty minor Soviet dissident-type writer, and this is a comic farce of Soviet soldiers. There are several funny scenes strung together by episodes of soldiers who can't seem to figure anything out, and may not even know if another Russian soldier is German, or Russian! All in all it was short and fairly enjoyable, and Chonkin himself is a fun characters.
Sli
Sad upravo vidjeh da sam ocjenio ovo remek djelo, a bez ikakva objašnjenja. Velika nepravda! Nikad prije nisam čitao ovako dobru i lako probavljivu satiru. I to u jednom danu! Ovaj čovjek ima nevjerojatan smisao sa trenutak i tempo. Nema stranice a da ne poželiš - još, još, još! Glavni lik je čisti urnebes, a kraj je fantastičan! Definitivno predlažem svima sa smislom za humor. A i onima bez njega! Ako ga nemate, uz Vojnoviča će vam izrasti i bez vašeg dopuštenja!
Shvatio sam da me jako malo knji
...more
Czarny Pies
Sep 30, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in the era of Stalin
Recommended to Czarny by: Robert Service
Shelves: russian-lit
Private Chonkin has frequently been called the Schweik of Stalinist Russia. Like Schweik he uses his extraordinary stupidity to outwit his persecutors. Unfortunately, for Chonkin Stalin's communist apparatchiks were far more skilled persecutors than Franz Joseph's Imperial bureaucrats. Whereas Schweik survives and prospers, Chonkin inevitably is dispatched to the Gulag.

Gogol and Bulgakov are the only two Russian writers that I am aware of who possess the same level of talent in comic writing as
...more
Andy Ignatov
One great novel that helps to understand the not so mysterious soul of a Russian soldier.
Núria
Dec 12, 2008 Núria marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Si entro en una librería y veo un libro cuyo autor tiene un exótico apellido ruso que no he oído en mi vida podéis estar seguros que acabaré sucumbiendo. Leo la contraportada. Pero esto es un puro trámite. Sé que diga lo que diga la contraportada acabaré comprándolo. Y es que en esta ocasión no sólo el autor tenía un exótico nombre ruso, sino que encima en el título había otro: 'Vida e insólitas aventuras del soldado Iván Chonkin'. Ivan Chonkin. Vladímir Voinóvich. ¿No me digáis que no suena bie ...more
Matt Spencer
A lighthearted, entertaining and wryly funny book full of absurd characters and situations - I'm sure a more po-faced reader could wax lyrical about its critique of the Soviet system. This book retains its comedic value despite the passing of the Cold War.
Katinki
Hilarious, wonderful book. Silly, absurd, absolutely funny. I'd seen Menzel's film before, but until now hadn't read the source material. So glad that I did. I need to go back, however, and re-read in the original language. I bet it's even better.
Spiros
Oct 08, 2012 Spiros rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those looking to find humor in a totalitarian state
Recommended to Spiros by: Stas
Shelves: citylights
A brilliant critique of what happens when ordinary humans are thrown into the cogs of a smoothly running bureaucracy. The ramifications of the series of misunderstandings that occur in the final third of the book are dazzling and hilarious.
Чанко Попчев
Невероятна книга.
Героите се въртят в пъстра въртележка пред погледа ни, докато малкият войник Иван Чонкин седи в ареста и чака съдбата си. Всяко лице е запомнящо се като героите на Гогол в "Мъртви души", а даже и повече.
Marat
One of the funniest books I have ever read. I read this in its original form - in Russian. Not really sure how well it can be translated into English as the humor is very specific to Soviet reality of the time.
Avital
Dictatorships produce the sharpest satires about human nature. This one is laughing-out-loud funny. Ivan chonkin, a simple village-boy soldier in the Red Army is arrested and dragged to a big comedy of the absurd.
Jose
Corrosiva sátira de la burocracia soviética y de cómo cuanto peor hagas las cosas más alto subirás en el escalafón. Muy divertida, no tanto de carcajada (que a veces también) como de sonrisa cómplice.
Linda
didn't find it that funnny. a bit tedious tbh.

going through it in class, i can see why it'd be funnier to someone who read it in the original but to me, with my limited knowledge of soviet society...
Mr
probably favorite book ever. hilarious take on the of soviet system. my edition also includes my favorite book review ever "Ivan Chokin made me laugh so hard the fillings in my teeth melted"
Heather
Sep 09, 2007 Heather rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: russophiles
This book has redeemed Voinovich for me. It's witty, funny, and tragic at the same time - something I feel his other books that I've read aimed for but did not achieve.
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Vladimir Voinovich (Владимир Николаевич Войнович) was born in what is now Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, but which at the time of his birth was Stalinabad, a city in the USSR.

Voinovich started writing and publishing poetry during the army service; he later switched to writing prose and ultimately became famous as a master of satirical depiction of the absurdity of Soviet life. However, he d
...more
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“-Little girl whom do you love more, mama or papa?
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