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The Underground

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  29 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
About the book:

"I am Moscow’s underground son," says young Mbobo, introducing himself to the reader. "The result of one too many nights on the town." The story of a half-African, half-Siberian child growing up in the fast-changing Moscow of the 1980s, The Underground has been called one of the "ten best Russian novels of the 21st Century" (Content Magazine). In this subtl
ebook, 248 pages
Published December 2nd 2013 by Restless Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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(showing 1-30)
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Friederike Knabe
Feb 19, 2014 Friederike Knabe rated it really liked it
Shelves: ce-europe
"My mother died when I was eight, and I died four years later. And is all there is to my Moscow life…"..."The rest is just decaying, late-blown blooms of memories…" explains Kirill, better known as Mbobo or Pushkin, the narrator of Hamid Ismailov's The Underground. It is a roller-coaster of a ride...criss-crossing the Moscow Metro system, one station at a time. The novel reads like a complex jigsaw puzzle where the pieces may play more than one possible role.

"...and is all there is to my Moscow
Mar 08, 2014 Will rated it really liked it
"The metro is my innards: my thoughts, my experiences, my life, my cavities, my arteries. If you cut me open on the operating table, you wouldn't find blue veins and red arteries, but the multicolored web of the Moscow metro stations."
Dec 20, 2015 Antonomasia added it
Recommends it for: people with good knowledge of Russian literature
Recommended to Antonomasia by: It was free on Noisetrade.
A blurb quote places Ismailov in the tradition of Gogol, Bulgakov, Platonov. The book mentions many Russian and Soviet writers, some famous to most international readers (Pushkin, Maxim Gorky, Dostoevsky) others known to those with a deeper interest. There are curious motifs and scenes which feel as if they must be allusive, but to what exactly, I didn’t know. The notes explained some of what was explicitly named; much wasn’t. (To someone who knows their stuff, it would likely all fall into ...more
David Kenvyn
Oct 21, 2016 David Kenvyn rated it liked it
This is a very odd book. That is the only way I can think of describing. The story is told by a dead by who is haunting the Moscow underground, which is what he used to do when he was alive. The story is set at the time of glasnost and perestroika as the Soviet Union was slowly transforming itself back into Russia. And the hero of the story is Kirill, otherwise known as Mbobo, which gives you an idea of the complexity of his ethnic origin.
His father was an African athlete visiting the Soviet Uni
ryan popov
Mar 07, 2016 ryan popov rated it it was amazing
Книга на русском:

Не пытайтесь искать эту книгу в Москве – не найдёте. Похоже, что переведённый на английский язык роман Хамида Исмайлова "Мбобо" имеет в США более широкий круг читателей, чем оригинал в России. И ведь речь о книге, написанной на русском, действие в которой происходит в Москве – или, точнее, под Москвой. Побывав в крупных книжных магазинах, я был удивлён, что даже имени автора не оказалось в базе данных. И это вызывает сожаление.

В Узбекист
Aug 28, 2014 Lianne rated it liked it
This review in its entirety was originally posted at

Ismailov’s novel is quite reminiscent to Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground, which is not surprising given the title of this novel and the amount of reflection on Russian literature present throughout. It’s interesting to read and see how the author connects a character’s memory or experience with a station in Moscow, providing a rather dark and dank sort of atmosphere to the no
Aug 25, 2015 Annie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
And now for the second book this week that puzzled me so much that I had to write a post about it. The Underground, by Hamid Ismailov, is a reflective story narrated by a dead child from Moscow. Mbobo, sometimes called Kirill or “Pushkin,” was probably doomed from the start. He’s the son of a Uzbek woman who came to Moscow to work during the 1980 Olympics and an athlete from an unnamed African country. His mother is disowned by her parents and makes a living on the margins of social acceptance. ...more
Nathan Rostron
Aug 30, 2015 Nathan Rostron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you imagine a Russian Tin Drum—set largely in the Moscow Underground as the Soviet Union is about to fall—mixed with the absurdism and heart of Gary Shteyngart's Little Failure, you're approaching the strange and intriguing wonder of Hamid Ismailov's The Underground.
Feb 19, 2016 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I should take a break from Russian novels. I found myself not caring in the least where this one went, not that it went anywhere anyway.
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Mar 31, 2014
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Jul 26, 2016
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Jan 11, 2014
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