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4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  733 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
A New York Review Books Original

The Soviet writer Andrey Platonov saw much of his work suppressed or censored in his lifetime. In recent decades, however, these lost works have reemerged, and the eerie poetry and poignant humanity of Platonov’s vision have become ever more clear. For Nadezhda Mandelstam and Joseph Brodsky, Platonov was the writer who most profoundly regist
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 4th 2007 by NYRB Classics (first published January 1st 1934)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,648)
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Nov 28, 2015 [P] rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bitchin
The heating has never worked in my apartment. I’ve flipped switches, I’ve read manuals, I’ve turned dials, I’ve struck out petulantly at inanimate objects…nothing. Have you ever experienced the callous winters of northern England? Occasionally, I’ll sit on the sofa in the living room, attempting to behave like a civilised human being. And I’ll fantasise about chipping the frozen skin off my face, like restructuring an ice sculpture. I never do it, of course, because my fingers are so cold I can’ ...more
Sep 16, 2016 Zeren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
İnsanlığın unutulduğu bir coğrafyada, zorlukların en dibinde bile "umut nasıl devam eder"in romanı Can. Ölümü değil yaşamı, hüznü değil neşeyi, ızdırabı değil mutluluğu yücelten nefis bir roman. İnanmak ne güzel dedim kitap boyunca. Tanrı'ya, başka birine, devlete, sisteme falan değil, önce kendine ve yaşama inanmak.
Mustafa Şahin
Son zamanlarda okuduğum en güzel kitaptı bu. İnsanı, insan olmayı, insan olmanın nasıl bir şey olduğunu anlatıyor diyebiliriz sanırım. İnsan ne için yaşar, nasıl yaşar, gerçekten yaşamakta mıdır? Sorular çoğaltılabilir. Ayrıca Stalin dönemine dair bir referans olarak da okunabilir.
Eddie Watkins
Sep 30, 2014 Eddie Watkins rated it really liked it
Shelves: russian-fiction
Fuckin great for the most part but one or two of the stories kind of fuckin suck.
Jan 19, 2016 Jale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
İnanmanın gücü adına! Yaşamaktan vazgeçmiş, kaybolmuş, umut etmekten korkan Can halkının, uzanan bir elle yeniden nefes almaya başlamasının hikayesi. Can. Ruh ya da hayat anlamında. Nefis.
Jul 06, 2013 Richard rated it it was amazing
I have read thousands of books mostly Russian. Platonov is in the top 5. Anyone who says he is " pro Soviet/ Stalin" must be shot, they are too idiotic to understand dark sarcasm. Irony. A man who had his 15 yr old son die from TB(and he in turn would contract it from his son, dying from it later) he contracted in a gulag did not love Stalin. A man who could not publish his work while Stalin was alive did not love Stalin. Are readers even educated anymore? Are they so uneducated from their hald ...more
Jan 05, 2009 Geoff rated it really liked it
"Soul" was one of the most interesting and strange allegories about the Stalinist era I have encountered. Desolate and desperate, but hopeful nonetheless, full of imagery vaguely reminiscent of Goya's more disturbing paintings. "The Return" was as gorgeous a story as I have read from twentieth century Russia. The other stories are also worth your time but these two are certainly the anchors of this collection.
Sep 13, 2012 Manfred rated it it was amazing
Reading the Russian Masters really makes you rethink the merits of all the pampered MFA candidates puking out lit-fiction lately in the States. Platonov's life is as fascinating as any of his stories - he struggled to publish, he was usually desperately broke and in need of medicines for various family members. His son was sent to the Gulag at age 15 and dead not long thereafter. Platonov himself was dead at 52, of the same TB that had killed his son But it is the stories that count the most - t ...more
Aug 29, 2010 Monte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have my own bookshelf and the top shelf is designated for 5 star books. This is placed on there. This book is so awesome you can read it in one day. You'll forget to eat. "Soul" captures the human persona throughout a journey. I recommend it to all who are in desperate need of a five-star book, foreign literature and just mind-blowing prose.
Mar 23, 2016 booksofAhu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: çeviri
"Can. Ruh ya da tatlı hayat anlamında. O halkın, ruhundan ve kadınların, anaların ona bağışladığı tatlı hayatından başka hiçbir şeysi yoktu – halkı doğuran analardır çünkü."

kitabın özeti de tam da bu işte.. canından başka hiçbir şeyi olmayan.. öyleki mesela üstbaş yokluğunu çıplaklığa varacak kadar, susuzluğu çamur emecek kadar ve açlığı çalı, kamlumbağa gibi ne bulduysa yiyecek kadar. herhangi bir yaşama amacı olmadan, ölmeyecek kadar ama yaşıyor denemeyecek kadar..

Konu olarak oldukça yabancı b
Sep 22, 2016 Levent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Şahane bir kitaptı. Nazar Çagatayev karakterinin ruhunu,her şeyini kaybetmiş halkını(Can) tekrar diriltmek için verdiği mücadeleyi okuyoruz. Okurken yaşanan en ufak aksilikte ben umudum yitirirken Nazar asla pes etmedi.

"İnsanlar ne diye acının, ölümün hesabını tutardı hep, mutluluk da bir o kadar kaçınılmaz, hatta çoğunluk çaresizlikten daha olasıyken."

Kesinlikle herkes okumalı.
Mark Sacha
Recently I've been led to discover a number of Russian writers, little-known in the West, who wrote under the Soviet Union with great clarity and impression. Platonov may be my favorite so far - in Soul, he and the Chandlers' team surprised me with how much they subvert expectations of what Soviet literature is capable of. The title novella reads like something between Borges and Cormac McCarthy with the epic sweep and alienation of Tarkovsky. It is a dark fable set in the deserts of Uzbekistan ...more
Jan 11, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russia, short-fiction
After having finished Andrei Platonov's Soul, I am beginning to think that Platonov may well be the best Soviet-era writer of fiction -- perhaps not quite on the same level as Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, but amazing nonetheless.

Half the book is taken up by the title story, about a Turkmen named Chagataev is abandoned by his starving mother, is taken as an orphan to Moscow to be educated, and returns to the arid region south of the Aral Sea to help his people. This he proceeds to do, as a loyal fol
Jan 07, 2009 Troy rated it it was ok
There's no doubt that Platonov can write, and generally I love stories that focus on the poor, but there are many things about "Soul" that I just don't like.

First of all, I can't get over the fact that Stalin is hailed - I mean, sure, Platonov would've been killed if he didn't hail Stalin, and sure, the main character doesn't really know anything about Stalin and just thinks of him as a benevolent Sky Father, but all the same Stalin is lauded.

Also, the book is named "Soul" and I'm bored by discu
Tank Green
Jul 18, 2008 Tank Green rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the honest
Shelves: fiction
wow, what an achingly beautiful book...

it's full of such a mournful joy that tears shred me on more than one occasion. i found it hard that someone could say some of the things that he said. that he could voice such sadness in such a beautiful way, so that it was no longer sadness, but hope.

truly a fragile book...
Darya Conmigo
We just had a visiting professor give a lecture on this novel a week ago, and apparently, the latest translation of Platonov's works into English was a collaboration between 20 (yes, twenty!) translators and scholars. I can see why. Platonov's Russian reminds me of a really good machine translation from some unknown language into human. Russian, as luck has it. It's almost a human language, just ever so slightly off, with beautiful brokenness in it. It's overwhelming too - try reading over a hun ...more
Jan 16, 2008 Marian rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Liliana
I've been trying to read Platonov for years, but I never "got" him. It was even worse when people asked me to evaluate translations of him, because I had no idea what made him so special in Russian. All I knew was that he was odd. But not appealing.

On the urging of an editor I respect highly, who had read this book in college and been enchanted by it, I just read "Soul," the title novella of this volume, translated by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler.

Without his encouragement, I might not have las
Jul 19, 2012 Tyler rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Anyone; Readers Interested in Socialist Realism
This book seemed a good place to get in idea of what a Soviet writer of literature in good ideological standing might write in the 1930s. What Platanov gives us is a series of short stories that provide a glimpse of what socialist realism in the arts was meant to do. His stories largely portray what a new Soviet man is or might be like. His writing is relatively free of the overt pro-Stalinist and pro-communist bombast for which Westerners came to ridicule the Soviet Union.

So often it's the case
Mar 01, 2014 Rhys rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been enormously privileged to discover a host of writers new to me in the past few years who have reinvigorated my love of literature. Of all these writers the best has been Andrei Platonov.

I can hardly express how wonderful I found this book of stories to be. Platonov was a real revelation to me. The opening story in this volume, 'Soul', which is actually a novella or short novel, is one of the finest pieces of literature I have ever read. It affected me deeply. I found it to be magical,
Jan 19, 2013 Sam rated it really liked it
A classic. The main story is about a Turkmen man, educated in Moscow, goes back to his homeland to find his tribe and pull them out of ignorance and poverty. There are other, shorter stories in this volume, too. Wonderfully written, with a long introduction about how what appears to be Soviet propaganda, when closely read, is actually subversive, mocking the Soviet system.
Bilge Guler
May 02, 2015 Bilge Guler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Çagatayev çocukluk anılarından ve Moskova'da aldığı eğitimden bilirdi ki, sömürünün her türlüsü insanın ruhunu sakatlamakla, onu ölüme alıştırmakla başlar, öyle kurulur egemenlik, başka türlü köle köle olmaz."

Muhteşem bir romandı. Platonov çok büyük bir yazar gerçekten.
Kara Brunk
Jan 24, 2011 Kara Brunk rated it liked it
This is the first book I have read from a pro-communism Russian author. The themes of societal good, the rise of the proletariat, and Stalin as "Father Russia" run throughout.

By the way, that 3-star is for you, Julie!
Altay Aktar
May 07, 2016 Altay Aktar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ne için yaşıyorum? Neden yaşıyorum? Nasıl yaşıyorum? sorularını sordurur.
Can halkının yaşam mücadelesi. Kendi içlerinden çıkıp ayrılıp seneler sonra gelen bir kurtarıcı. Mı?

Güzel konu, güzel yazım.
Burak Karakuş
Feb 19, 2015 Burak Karakuş rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of the best books of my bookshelf. although written so symbolical, can still make reader feel how Çagatayev feels on the events that he has gone through and effects of them on him.
Jordi Sellarès
Oct 26, 2015 Jordi Sellarès rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Podeu llegir-ne la ressenya al blog Especulacions d'un Neanderthal!
Nick Moran
Jan 10, 2012 Nick Moran rated it it was amazing
Few people do pity and sorrow better than the Irish, but the next tier would certainly be the Russians. This book is haunting.
Aug 23, 2016 Leonardo marked it as to-keep-ref
El texto clave de su periodo «realista-socialista» es la novela corta The Soul (1935) y, aunque todavía está presente el grupo utópico típicamente platonoviano –la «nación», una comunidad en el desierto formada por marginados que han perdido la voluntad de vivir–, los puntos de referencia han cambiado totalmente. El héroe es ahora un educador estalinista que ha estudiado en Moscú; regresa al desierto para llevar a la «nación» al progreso científico y cultural y así restablecer su voluntad de viv ...more
Jun 11, 2014 Dxarmbar06 rated it it was amazing
Transformative. This was the first book I read upon moving to New York City and it completely revolutionized my view of the destruction of literature. I realized, no, literature isn't dying everywhere, only outside of New York--the epicenter of publishing. This is not a book for simple minds only looking to spend $5.99 on a BN paperback, this is elevated phraseology of a celestial caliber. TLDR For Patricians, not for Plebs!
David Rosenthal
Jan 01, 2015 David Rosenthal rated it it was amazing
Love this book like few other books in this world. The centerpiece is the novella "Soul", which is far and away the bleakest story I've read, and also one of the most beautiful. I've read it twice so far and will likely be re-reading it throughout my life. So bleak, so beautiful.
Brian Reinhart
Sep 07, 2014 Brian Reinhart rated it really liked it
Uneven collection of stories, but the best ones are truly Great, and the prose is always breathtaking. Platonov might rival Nabokov as my favorite prose stylist of the 20th century. Every paragraph contains something nobody has ever done before.
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NYRB Classics: Soul: And Other Stories, by Andrey Platonov 1 6 Oct 30, 2013 06:39PM  
  • White Walls: Collected Stories
  • Unforgiving Years
  • The Noise of Time: Selected Prose
  • Peasants and Other Stories
  • Memories of the Future
  • The Road: Stories, Journalism, and Essays
  • Nervous People and Other Satires
  • The Golovlyov Family
  • Amsterdam Stories
  • Envy
  • The Queue
  • Summer in Baden-Baden
  • The Petty Demon
  • Collected Stories
  • Pushkin House
  • Selected Stories
  • Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida (Penguin Classics)
Andrei Platonov, August 28, 1899 – January 5, 1951, was the pen name of Andrei Platonovich Klimentov, a Soviet author whose works anticipate existentialism.

Although Platonov was a Communist, his works were banned in his own lifetime for their skeptical attitude toward collectivization and other Stalinist policies.

His famous works include the novels The Foundation Pit and Chevengur.
More about Andrei Platonov...

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“Inside every poor creature was a sense of some other happy destiny, a destiny that was necessary and inevitable -why, then, did they find their lives such a burden and why were they always waiting for something?” 11 likes
“Everything in the existing world seemed strange to him; it was as if the world had been created for some brief, mocking game. But this game of make-believe had dragged on for a long time,for eternity, and nobody felt like laughing anymore.” 10 likes
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