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Picknick auf dem Eis (Пикник на льду #1)

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  6,174 Ratings  ·  656 Reviews
Als Tagträumer hat es Viktor schwer in Kiew der Neureichen und der Mafia: ohne Geld und ohne Freundin lebt er mit dem Pinguin Mischa und schreibt unvollendete Romane für die Schublade. Doch eines Tages bietet ihm der Chefredakteur einer großen Zeitung eine gutbezahlte Stelle an: Viktor soll Nekrologe über berühmte Leute verfassen, die allerdings noch gar nicht gestorben si ...more
Paperback, detebe 23255, 287 pages
Published October 1st 1999 by Diogenes Verlag (first published 1996)
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Mariel
Dec 19, 2011 Mariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hugh Jackman
Recommended to Mariel by: my usual method. Russian authors list. I'm unoriginal
Death and the Penguin is a sweet and strange little book. It won't admit it is sweet. Don't call me sweet! I'm so sad. Can't you see that I'm sad? It might say. I'm not sure how to review it without sounding like a weirdo. I liked it a lot and almost loved it. It was almost warm and it almost made me happy. I almost belonged there. It is bittersweet feeling like going to a funeral and looking around to see if anyone else showed up, like that would make a difference. If you were the sort to show ...more
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
Jul 01, 2011 Maja (The Nocturnal Library) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with a weird sense of humor
3.5 stars

There's a reason why satire isn't among the most popular literary genres. It has to be extremely well written and you need to be open to that type of humor for it to work. But if you do like that sort of thing, and if the author is someone you can trust to be funny without being (too) offensive, you’re probably in for a great reading experience.

When the Kiev zoo suffers yet another budget cut, they start looking for people willing to take zoo animals as pets. Viktor, being a solitary a
...more
Melki
Dec 03, 2014 Melki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humorous-fiction
anhedonia - noun \ˌan-(ˌ)hē-ˈdō-nē-ə, -nyə\
:an inability to experience pleasure in normally pleasurable acts


There are characters who live and breathe and make even a crappy novel a wonderful experience.

And then there are some you just want to slap.

Meet Viktor.

He takes pleasure in, well...nothing. He has sex mainly because it's offered, not because he desires it, feels no emotion for the woman in his bed, and is completely unmoved by the charming little girl he gets stuck caring for. Misha, his
...more
Emma
Feb 25, 2016 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

A bizarre and troublesome novel.

The plot is pure fantasy, but it is this sense of the ridiculous that makes the details in the background of the novel all the more striking. Kurkov fills it with his lived experience of Kiev and it is such that, by the end of the book, Viktor and his penguin, Misha, feel more normal than the 'real' world. In this society a man needing hospital treatment must bribe the ambulance drivers to get there and is offered life prolonging medicine from the doctor
...more
KamRun
May 10, 2017 KamRun rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
اگر کسی بخواهد به آینده فکر کند، باید در همین حالتِ معمولِ بودنش فکرش را بکند، آیندهای که تنها با جنگیدنِ روبه جلو بدست میآید. فقط جلو رفتن، بدون آنکه آدم لحظهای بایستد تا بخواهد توی تاریکخانهای انگشت کند یا یک دفعه ویرش بگیرد در ماهیت خود زندگی تغیری بدهد. زندگی یک جاده است و اگر ازش پرت افتادی یا خواستی میانبر بزنی، خداحافظ؛ جاده گم شد، تمام شد! و جادهی بلندتر یعنی زندگی طولانیتر اصل ادامهی سفر است، نه رسیدن به مقصد. گذشته از تمام اینها، مقصد که همیشه یکی است: مرگ

انتخابهایی هستند که برگزیدنشان
...more
El
Don't get me wrong - I love penguins. I think they're awesome, and secretly I think I'd like one as a pet one day. But when this book was recommended for my book club, I was a bit wary - really? A story about a guy and his penguin? Sigh. I don't read satires very well, normally, so I expected this to be one of those sorts of situations where I missed all the humor. However, I do do surrealism pretty well, and I also do Eastern European literature exceptionally well. Okay, so penguins, surrealism ...more
Katie
Aug 14, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Death and the Penguin' is one of those books which shouldn't work, but somehow it does. It's a novel which address serious themes of death, loneliness and the casually oppressive nature of post-Soviet society in Ukraine, and yet it does so with humour. And a penguin.

The story of Viktor, a struggling writer who gets a job writing obituaries for people while they are alive who then strangely start dying off, is enjoyable and written in such a way that it seems perfectly logical rather than as unb
...more
Somayeh
Feb 11, 2015 Somayeh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
<<در اوکراین دهه نود میلادی، فاصله زندگی تا کشته شدن به دست مافیا، یک "پنگوئن" است>>

ماجرای یک نویسنده آگهی ترحیم برای روزنامه که ناخواسته درگیر سیاست و قتلهای مافیایی میشه، شاید از اواسط داستان میشد ماجرا رو حدس زد، اما خیلی مشتاق بودم ببینم چطور تمومش میکنه ...و عالی تموم شد، عالی!

یک داستان تقریبا کارآگاهی و سوررئال با طنز سیاه که حضور "میشا"ی پنگوئن لطف خواندنش رو بیشتر میکنه. (و این البته ظاهر قضیه است، در حقیقت معنای حضور میشا چیزی بیشتر از لطفِ داشتن یک حیوان خانگی دوست داشتنی س
...more
Judy
Jun 07, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Judy by: Amanda
This is not a typical Ukranian novel. It is a hodgepodge socialist government intrigue, living in an oppressed Ukranian society, mystery all wrapped around the troubles of Misha the penguin. Misha keeps the book from being too Orwell-ish and bleak.

The characters are good. Little Sonya brings some lightness to the story. Nina adds some humanity. Viktor represents the typical Ukrainian man fearful of his own government but yet striving to survive.

The book reads quickly. I was able to finish it i
...more
Orbi Alter
Jan 20, 2016 Orbi Alter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nedopricljivi
Simpa romancic ;) "Neuspjeli" novelist udomljava pingvina nakon sto ZOO propada i cudnim cudom pocinje pisati nekrologe zivih ljudi... U nekom trenutku postaje odgovoran za svasta, a tu je i mafija. Veselim se nastavku. Lijep, cinicni humor s prstohvatom slavenske patetike i grubosti. Laganini citanac.
Dan
Jul 28, 2008 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dan by: Nick Hornby, by way of his Believer column.
Shelves: 2008
This book has the distinction of being the first work translated from Russian I've ever read (suck it, Dostoyevsky!) Technically, it's from the Ukraine. It follows the story of a struggling writer who takes work writing obelisks, obituaries of those not yet dead in order to pay the bills. It's when these people, dignitaries, VIPs, and so on, start showing up dead that he starts asking questions.
The penguin in the title is an actual penguin, Misha, who is rescued from a failing zoo by the writer
...more
Friederike Knabe
Oct 03, 2014 Friederike Knabe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ce-europe
The less you know the longer you live", recommended the Chief to Victor when he inquired about the purpose of preparing certain obituaries, called "obelisks" in the jargon of Capital News, a major newspaper in Kiev (Ukraine). Victor is a struggling fiction writer, who should feel himself lucky to land a well paying day job. So his friends tell him,except that none among them, or the readership of the paper, know what he is being asked to write. All obelisks are of well known personalities, and, ...more
Christina
Feb 27, 2009 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2009
Did you ever think about writing a book with a penguin being one of the main characters?
- then don't bother. Andrey Kurkov has done it and done it very well.

Death and the Penguin is the story of Viktor and his pet penguin Misha. Viktor saved Misha when the zoo gave away hungry animals to anyone willing to give them food. And Viktor got Misha and his life changed.
Well, not right away, but when he got a new job writing obelisks - obituaries for people not yet dead - things seriously changed. Not o
...more
Rick Riordan
Nov 08, 2013 Rick Riordan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another slim book, more or less a crime novel, this is a translation of a Ukrainian book. The main character, who has adopted a penguin from the local zoo, gets a job writing obituaries, then learns that he is writing obituaries for people who are about to die! Great premise. A quick and refreshing read, and the penguin is a terrific character. I understand there is a sequel too, though given the ending of the book, I don't know how Kurkov will pull that off. The book gave a very depressing glim ...more
Jim Coughenour
I picked up this book on a whim in City Lights back in 2001 and fell in love with it almost immediately. It's a minor classic, an absurdist tale of Victor, a Ukrainian writer of obituaries who gets saddled with Misha, a pet penguin. When he discovers that someone is writing his obituary, things start to get scary. This isn't laugh-out-loud funny, it's more white-knuckled humor — but the denouement is masterful. Worth hunting down.
Travelin
Sep 21, 2014 Travelin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-in-short
At one time, I wrote trailers for television. Like the main character of this novel, I could access reams of background details and reduce them to a few crisp lines. Also like the main character, I seldom saw the shows themselves or any of the results. One Christmas, I wrote only trailers for the science shows, ignoring all the Christmas shows. My manager became quite emotional.

So I can identify strongly with the main character's artistic love of writing obituaries. It's a love which is the sour
...more
Isil
Jun 06, 2013 Isil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: litterature, xxie, ukraine
Voici une satire de l'Ukraine post-soviétique particulièrement savoureuse. Victor écrit des rubriques nécrologiques sur des individus peu recommandables tout en s'occupant d'un pingouin (en fait, un manchot) récupéré au zoo en faillite. Jusque là, rien d'anormal, si ce n'est que ces personnes ne sont pas mortes... enfin pas encore.
Malgré un style minimaliste qui aurait dû me rebuter, le début, léger, est prometteur et la suite s'avère à la hauteur en prenant un tour plus sombre (mais toujours av
...more
Pavle
Oct 25, 2016 Pavle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: takozvano-ostalo
Viktor, hoću-neću pisac u pokušaju, ima pingvina Mišu. Zvuči zabavno, svakako. Kao američki badi kop film. E pa nije. Roman je napisao Ukrajinac, ali po tekstu se jasno vidi da je on Rus, jer postoji li mračna, teška, ali elegantno napisana psihološka satira (u post-socijalističkoj Ukraniji, slovna greška za Srbiju), tek malko pripita, a da je nije napisao neki Rus?

Viktor je ravnodušan pisac priča-turned-pisac čitulja pri svojim četrdesetim koji ne zna ni šta će, ni gde će i eto, on se slučajno
...more
Lakis Fourouklas
This is one of those special novels that one just feels happy to read. The truth is that I didn’t even know the name of its author, until I watched a show about him on Greek TV, and that was it; I’ve decided to dive into his world and, according to those who know best, there’s no better way to start than by reading Death and the Penguin.
This story could be described as a kind of satire. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny, but funny it is, even though it describes a world more or less bleak, where th
...more
Nikki
Apr 07, 2014 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, contemporary
I don't think I'd have ended up reading Death and the Penguin without a little challenge I'm doing to read twenty books recommended by friends. (It took me a while to get my twenty, but maybe now I should post them or make a shelf for them or something.) It's interesting, though. I'm not generally very good at politics and satire, particularly when I'm not very aware of the historical context, but this is enjoyable anyway.

You see, the penguin is not metaphorical. Viktor literally has a pet pengu
...more
Adam
Post-Soviet Ukrainian existential and absurdist noir is new genre for me and one I think Andrey Kurkov owns, Kurkov crafts tales worthy of Kafka but with warm humanity and humor and plotting that are definitely his own. The hero is a writer with writer’s block and a pet penguin (gotten from a defunded zoo) and while this combination at first seems a little bit precious but their melancholy day to day is described with well-placed rhythms and details and is never too cute. The events get both sin ...more
Jonfaith
Mar 15, 2012 Jonfaith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mother-rus
Perhaps it was the phlegm. It could be the fact that it is hot and humid outside while only being the 17th of March. It could be the steady decompression from the whirlwind trip to Miami. Whatever the primary cause, I started my holiday this a.m. burdened with an ineffable heaviness. This condition appears now in hindsight as a perfect disposition for Kurkov's Death and the Penguin. There is a philosophical calm, almost Stoic to Kurkov's prose. The world is going to shit but the spring dawn stil ...more
Nicole
Two oddities which may or may not reflect the time and place in which this book was written:

1. There seem to be plenty of ways of making money, but nearly all of them are soiled and compromised in some way. In some cases, you can't even say no to it: the money pours in along with the horribleness.

2. You meet a stranger by chance, and then you life ends up intertwined with their life through favor exchanges and other strangeness. No one ever just meets a person, transacts his business, and move
...more
بهمن بهمن
Jan 05, 2015 بهمن بهمن rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ادبیات روسیه همیشه چشمه جوشانی است که در طی ادوار مختلف اسامی ماندگاری را به ادبیات جهان معرفی کرده است. وجود آب و هوایی خاص، زبان بسیار غنی و رخدادهای تاریخی و سیاسی عجیب این کشور شرایط بسیار مناسبی را برای استعدادهای روسی پدید آورده تا خود را به جهان معرفی کنند. در چند دهه گذشته وجود یک کشور کمونیستی و فضای بسته و خفقان آور اتحاد جماهیر شوروی از سویی موجب فرار مغزهای این کشور و از سویی دیگر موجب ناشناخته ماندن تعدادی از نویسندگان جوان شوروی شد. پس از فروپاشی و با استقلال یافتن جمهوری های دیگر ...more
Chrissie
NO SPOILERS!!!

ETA In that this novel is predominantly a crime/mystery novel, it is pretty bad that I guessed the ending 2/3 of the way through.

******************************************

I have wanted to meet Misha, the penguin, for quite some time now! The beginning lines are very, very funny, but please read my thoguhts when I have completed the book. First, go ahead and enjoy the beginning. This is how the book starts:

A Militia major is driving along when he sees a militiaman standing with a
...more
Michael
Viktor Alekseyevich Zolotaryov is an unemployed aspiring writer struggling to live in a post-soviet society. He has aspirations to write novels but a job writing obituaries conveniently fell into his lap. Viktor’s job is to prepare obituaries for notable Ukrainian figures. However he quickly found out he was being assigned to write obituaries of the enemies of an unknown organisation, using the newspaper as a front. He is now trapped in a situation and there appears to be no escape.

The title of
...more
SARAH
Apr 21, 2013 SARAH rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
اثری جذاب و مبهوت کننده..کتابی با فضایی اثیری که مخاطب رو جادو میکنه و تو خودش حل میکنه یکی از بهترین کارهایی که من در زندگیم خوندم.
The novel follows the life of a young aspiring writer, Viktor Alekseyevich Zolotaryov, in a struggling post-Soviet society. Viktor, initially aiming to write novels, gets a job writing obituaries for a local newspaper. The source of the title is Viktor's pet penguin Misha, a King Penguin obtained after the local zoo in Kiev gave away its animals to those who could a
...more
Mirela
Feb 16, 2017 Mirela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4,5 p
„Ceva e în neregulă în viaţa asta”, cugeta el în timp ce mergea pe stradă cu privirea în pământ. „Ori poate că viaţa însăşi s-a schimbat, rămânând doar la suprafaţă aceeaşi care a fost, simplă şi lesne de înţeles. Când, de fapt, în interiorul ei s-a stricat mecanismul, şi acum nu mai ştii la ce să te aştepţi de la lucrurile cu care erai obişnuit. De la o felie de pâine ucraineană, sau de la un telefon public. Ceva străin şi invizibil se ascunde în faţa fiecărei suprafeţe cunoscute, înlăuntr
...more
Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton
I don't typically read crime novels. I've picked up an occasional thriller (David Baldacci's Absolute Power is a fun read), but crime has never really been my cup of tea.

If more are like Death And The Penguin, though, I might pick up another.

Set in Kiev, it's the story of Viktor, an occasionally employed writer whose only friend and companion is, improbably, a penguin. When a job writing obituaries opens up--for people not yet dead--Viktor is glad for the work, and he starts researching his su
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: More editions link not working 3 37 Feb 08, 2012 04:58AM  
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Ukrainian writer writing in Russian. He was born in small town Budogoszcz in Leningrad area, Russia, but his family moved to Kyiv, Ukraine when he was young. In 1983 he graduated Kyiv Pedagogical Academy of Foreign Languages. Later he also completed a Japanese translation training. He started writing in age of six and he had a hobby of collecting cactuses - he collected nearly 1,500 of them. Ambit ...more
More about Andrey Kurkov...

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“The past believed in dates. And everyone’s life consisted of dates, giving life a rhythm and sense of gradation, as if from the eminence of a date one could look back and down, and see the past itself. A clear, comprehensible past, divided up into squares of events, lines of paths taken.” 6 likes
“Life was a road, and if departed from at a tangent, the longer for it. And a long road was a long life - a case where to travel was better than to arrive, the point of arrival being, after all, always the same: death.” 6 likes
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