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Novel With Cocaine

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  1,403 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
A bizarre and deeply disturbing account of a young man's descent into addiction, this story brilliantly mirrors the tumultuous events of early 20th-century Russian history. Struggling with the confusion and insecurities that adolescence brings, Vadim seeks an outlet for his frustration. Following unfulfilling attempts at classroom rebellion, filial disobedience, and teenag ...more
174 pages
Published by Macmillan General Books (first published 1934)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Jun 19, 2011 Joshua Nomen-Mutatio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Soundtrack: Baths - Maximalist



Spent two days a week shoving rather pricey quantities of oft-jagged euphoria up their snout, the nearest conduit to the terrible/beautiful master, the hub of experience, the center of narrative gravity, all transformed into a polis of sheer pleasure, pumping its flood 'round itself, the radiant, briefly blinding, photoflashbursts of a crackling and snapping electrical whitehotheat trumpeted its silent blaring in one set of ears alone. The clearblue afternoon visi
...more
knig
Oct 31, 2011 knig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disturbia
The gall of Nabokov scorning this novel as ‘disgusting’(which it is, but that’s beside the point. Pot? Kettle?). Disgusting, degenerate, harrowing, eternally haunting: Agayev has the uncanny ability to grasp the macabre and ply his chisel in its spent chamber: twisting, furling, stretching: convex, concave: peels it open and reams out the sinews of sin and depravity. And cocaine has nothing to do with it at all: Vadim had surrendered in the cemetery of his soul long before the white stuff left h ...more
MJ Nicholls
Dec 26, 2011 MJ Nicholls rated it it was ok
This book has the dubious honour of being the 400th book I’ve read over the last two years, the first being John Barth’s appalling Coming Soon!!! (whose three exclamation marks speak of a desperation undignified for such a dignified dignitary). If you think I’m some sort of freak who lives in a tin house with nine cats, you’d be right, only I don’t have cats and I live in a Glasgow flat with ceilings so high all the heat collects ten feet above me. As a consequence I write this enswaddled in fur ...more
Jonfaith
Mar 03, 2016 Jonfaith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mother-rus
Was expecting a While Nights with narcotics. This is likely more, however underdeveloped. In a sense this remains a strident meditation on decadence, a Slav Young Torless. The titular cocaine is merely a crescendo to an interesting portrait of the bestial and weird.

Remaining fascinated with reviews composed on a phone: no discernable improvement on terms of my skill, mind you.
Frankie
Sep 08, 2016 Frankie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia
Loved this. Interesting character.
Odai Alsaeed
Mar 27, 2011 Odai Alsaeed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
لم تك رواية كوكايين متفائلة كغيرها من الروايات التي خصت موضوع المخدر الأبيض الكرستالي فقد جاءت معبرة ومؤثر مغلفة في إطار حزين في كل طياتها...ولم تبحث هذه الرواية العميقة المؤثرة في الموضوع السابق فقط فقد كانت مدشنة بتخمة في أبعاد ثقافيةوموضوعية تخللتها مواضيع تبحث في لغات الجسد وفلسفته كما خاضت في مضمارالعلاقة الأسرية متغلغلة بشرح قاتم ومؤلم لعلاقة مخزية ومحزنة تخص العقوق
هذه الرواية لم تأخذ حقها الاعلامي أبدا وهي واحدة من أجرأ وأعمق الروايات التي قرأت فالقدرة السردية والفلسفية لدى المؤلف ساحرة
...more
Ala AbuTaki
Jan 23, 2011 Ala AbuTaki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
تتركك هذه الرواية منتفخاً بفقاعة حزنٍ شفافة , وممتعضاً من الطريقة الفاضحة والصريحة والحقيقية التي يعبر بها الكاتب عن أعمق المشاعر الإنسانية . عن أمه والأصدقاء وحبيبته .. والكوكايين !

باردة , وحارقة في آن .

الترجمة جميلة , ومُتقنة , لن أتردد في اقتناء ترجمات حسين عمر أبداً
Lizzy
Apr 06, 2009 Lizzy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
You cannot argue with a book called Novel with Cocaine. I feel a little weird giving it a rating... it's kind of like if you saw an old Russian man have a seizure under a bench in a decrepit public park somewhere and you were like, hmm, that's an ok seizure but not too convincing - here's 3 stars, and then the man screamed something unitelligible and mightily soiled himself and you were like oh! oh! make that 4 stars! damn, now that's a seizure!

Anyway, this book is classicly Russian (paraphrase
...more
The Literary Chick
Dark, dirty, unclean, much wisdom in its pages, the story set out what it intended to do. The drugs are actually a minuscule part of the book. The horror comes from the way the narrator's mind works and the actions that result from that. A friend pointed out that early on, the narrator speaks of having a disease, similarly to the way Dostoevsky's narrator in The Underground Man begins with "I am a sick man." After considering that, and other events and thoughts that occur in the two books, I wou ...more
Kaloyana
Mar 07, 2012 Kaloyana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Много хубаво, много силно и много руско! Така както руски автор може да подхване един обикновен човек и да го довърши толкова трагично, не знам друг да може. Повествованието е с градация. Най-силната част е тази за кокаина, както и мислите за него. Препоръчвам!
Saretta
3.5/5

Il romanzo segue il tracollo del protagonista in diverse fasi della sua vita: prima al ginnasio, poi nella relazione con una donna di cui è innamorato fino all'incontro con la cocaina che darà il colpo di grazia rendendolo dipendente.
Il romanzo è costituito dalle riflessioni di Vadim che analizza ogni episodio della sua vita per trovarne il senso e per capire meglio se stesso e quelli che lo circondano.
Vadim è un protagonista riflessivo, questo sì, ma anche profondamente insicuro, tanto da
...more
Vit Babenco
Nov 19, 2015 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Russian title of the novel can also be translated to English as Romance with Cocaine and somehow this variant appeals to me more.
Novel with Cocaine is factually a diary of a cad:
“…female charms, the kind that inflame the senses, are no more than kitchen smells: they tease you when you’re hungry and disgust you when you’ve had your fill.”
The protagonist goes the way his meanness and rascality should lead and lead him…
“I was terrified as only grown men and women can be when they wake in the middle
...more
Jonathan Turner
Dec 07, 2008 Jonathan Turner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Arukiyomi
Nov 02, 2013 Arukiyomi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
Very quick read this one and it’s been a while since I dipped my feet in Russian lit. This novel brought it all back to me and would be a great intro to anyone wanting to find out what this genre’s all about.

The novel is written under a pseudonym. There are still debates about who actually wrote it. But it contains all you want in a Russian novel: brooding self-absorption, moral decay, the hated or absent conscience of the individual, and the gradual plunge into doom and despair. Lovely!

The epon
...more
Marija Atanasova
Започнува како компилација од Цанкаровите „Петолирка“ и „Кафе“ (синот се срами од сопствената мајка и впечатокот што го остава нејзината парталава појава врз неговите соученици; одрекува поврзаност со неа и се шегува на сметка на нејзиниот изглед и старост; за подоцна да биде измачуван од совеста, пронижан од мајчиниот страдалнички, кроток поглед).
Збунувачки прониклив и чувствителен, а истовремено бездушен кон своите блиски, Вадим е растргнат помеѓу сочувството, срамот што го чувствува поради и
...more
Chetecut
Jan 30, 2011 Chetecut rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Тази книга е опиат. Тя е кокаин. Изпива силите и те оставя безмълвен. Една нереална действителност, малко страшна, но завладяваща и много, много болезнена. А и много руска.

И типично по руски в романа се говори за крайности. За нежност и озлобление, за щастие и отчаяние, за движение по ръба на една безкрайна бездна. Дрогата е само тъжният финал, а преди него началото поставя самият живот. Защото и той е изтъкан от крайности и от неразрешими проблеми, пред които търсещият млад човек скланя глава.
...more
Zack
Dec 07, 2008 Zack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good, rumored to have been written by Nabokov under a pseudonym, but who knows. I doubt it since the voice is more confessional or trusting in a way than his traditional more-sentient-than-thou sidestep manner. No, sometimes Nabokov is good, too--I like "Pale Fire" for instance, but you gotta admit . . .

Mira Baldaranova
Jan 27, 2015 Mira Baldaranova rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, novels
В началото осезателно ми липсваше музиката, която композира с фразата си Гайто Газданов. Постепенно поветствованието и стилът й ме завладяха по свой начин. Много паралели могат да бъдат направени между този роман и „Призракът на Александър Волф‘ на Газданов. И тук присъства темата за раздвоението на личността, която сблъсква два ярко противостоящи образа – тези на Маслеников и Буркевиц.

Провокативно предполагам са звучали през 30-те размишленията му за неравнопоставеността между половете, в които
...more
Unbridled
Hard for me not to like the writer of a line like: 'The water in the kitchen dripped like snapping strings.' The start of this book read a touch awkward, that first novel quality (or so I assume) – preposterously self–absorbed, the expected 'tricks' of the inexperienced hand, etc. Also undeniably well written in many parts – its failures and successes are both significant. A psychological novel of ideas, very Russian, Dostoyevskian, in short; and also exasperating, smart, and peculiar. I could s ...more
Guy Portman
Nov 03, 2014 Guy Portman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in the years immediately before and after the Russian Revolution, Novel with Cocaine follows the life of Vadim, a Moscow adolescent and student. Vadim is prone to self-loathing and disdainful of others, none more so than his mother, whose aged appearance and shabby clothes he finds acutely embarrassing. One night he seduces a girl, this despite the fact that unbeknown to her he is suffering from a venereal disease. Later he meets Sonya, an older, married woman, whom he becomes infatuated wit ...more
Alexis
Jan 08, 2010 Alexis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One of the many awesome things about city living is the way we dispose of our belongings once we’ve decided we no longer want them; we put them out on the street for our neighbors to sift through. One person’s trash really can end up as another’s treasure. Intrigued by the title, I picked up Novel with Cocaine on the sidewalk. So what’s in a name? A story of a misogynistic protagonist with no redeemable qualities about himself whatsoever.

I waited to get pulled into the story, but instead found
...more
Elvira Baryakina
Oct 11, 2013 Elvira Baryakina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian-classics
Это чистой воды literary fiction, что обычно неправильно переводят как "интеллектуальная проза". А здесь речь идет не столько об особой интеллектуальности, сколько об игре словами как искусстве. Высоком искусстве, надо сказать. Тем, кто ценит подобные наслаждения, скорее всего, понравится.

Сюжет рваный, выстроенный лишь с наметками классического "завязка - кульминация - развязка". Такое ощущение, что это нечто вроде записок для памяти: философия, наблюдения, выводы, сны, опыт... трогательные, уве
...more
Albertine Bejar
Brilliant & unbearable!

I read the German Translation, which manages to give the story a tremendous voice. I am really sensitive when it comes to style of writing; to me, the writer may not use the phrases of speach but has to surprise me with new words. Agajew/Levi's fantastic choice of pictures, whose descriptions often let me speechless (wonderful, playful comparisons!) allowed me to follow him all the way and get lost in this story. He mastered to ask and discuss intellectual questions in
...more
lisa_emily
Jan 21, 2008 lisa_emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: misanthropics
I was instantly intrigued by this book when I saw it listed in the 1001 Books to read before you die. I had never heard of this book or of its author. I discovered that there is some speculation about the author, but most likely he is lost to history.

As for the book, if there is a category called callow-scoundrels, this book would be one of the models. The narrator exhibits terrific disdain and hatefulness. The writing captures this character magnetically; I was drawn into hid world, because it
...more
Jennifer
Jan 18, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, adult
With such an unsympathetic narrator, I was surprised to like this as much as I did. Mostly due to the skillful writing/translating. Perhaps because it isn't a contemporary addiction memoir (or possibly even a memoir at all) I was much more willing to forgive the juvenile philosophical questions being put forward and found myself admiring how well those questions were explored through the structure of the book and its three sections. It's also interesting as a book standing at the crossroads of t ...more
Denis
Nov 20, 2008 Denis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Doesn't this Russian novel exist in English? I read it many years ago, and it was quite a sensational revelation. A truly shocking story, in the best sense of the term, written in the thirties by a mysterious writer once thought to be Nabokov. It's about the cruelties of youth, the intensity of love, the lure of drugs. Incredibly modern, or so it felt when I read it. Another novel I wish to re-read!
Кремена Михайлова
Който и да е той (казват, че е спорен), авторът на този роман ме удиви с изразителната детайлност и (само)аналитичност на чувствата и проявите на главния герой. Такава детайлност, която не ми дотегна, а ми беше любопитна. Изобщо не ме отврати разкриването на най-долните кътчета на човешката душа... Имах подобни впечатления при четенето на разказите на Исак Бабел, нещо ми напомни и на Набоков. С този роман/автор се добави още един плюс към сближаването ми с руската литература.
Gabriela Molina
Nov 24, 2014 Gabriela Molina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Este debe ser fácilmente uno de los mejores libros que he leido no este año, sino en mi vida. Una afrenta total contra los bueno y lo correcto, un desafío a la bondad y la conciencia social y su moralidad.
Rhys
Jan 14, 2017 Rhys rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exceptional novel, pungent, powerful, dark and intense, and also psychologically very astute and acute. The mysterious and pseudonymous Ageyev (who only recently has been identified as an obscure personage named Mark Levi) was a writer with a superb sense of observation, especially of those little details of life and the world that strike one as absolutely true but which were not in the reader's awareness before reading about them. In a sense, like Proust and Svevo, he raises these little tru ...more
Matías
Roberto Bolaño, en "Derivas de la pesada", afirma que, al morir Borges, hay tres puntos de referencia - todos antiborgeanos - en la literatura argentina: uno de ellos es Roberto Arlt. Se vale de una metáfora para afirmar que Arlt es "el sótano" de la casa de la literatura argentina. Autodidacta, pero no en el mismo sentido en que lo fue Borges: "el aprendizaje de Arlt se desarrolla en el desorden y en el caos, en la lectura de pésimas traducciones, en las cloacas y no en las bibliotecas".

Arlt n
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M. Ageyev is the nom-de-plume of Marc Levi. His best-known work, Novel With Cocaine was published in 1934 in the Parisian émigré publication, Numbers. Nikita Struve has alleged it to be the work of another Russian author employing a pen name, Vladimir Nabokov; this idea was debunked by Nabokov's son Dmitry in his preface to The Enchanter.

Levi's life is shrouded in mystery and conjecture. He retur
...more
More about M. Ageyev...

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“I was terrified as only grown men and women can be when they wake in the middle of the night and begin to realize, in the absolute silence and solitude all around them, that it is not only their dream that has woken them, that it is their whole way of life.” 20 likes
“Finally, when all was said and done, the certainty (so often experienced, yet always new) that female charms, the kind that inflame the senses, are no more than kitchen smells: they tease you when you're hungry and disgust you when you've had your fill.” 12 likes
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