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The Blizzard

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3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,829 ratings  ·  195 reviews
Vladimir Sorokin is one of Russia’s most popular novelists, and one of its most provocative as well. In Sorokin’s scabrous dystopian satire, Day of the Oprichnik, American readers were introduced to his distinctive style, which combines an edgy avant-garde sensibility with a fondness for the absurd and even grotesque—all in the service of bringing out stinging truths about ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2010)
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3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,829 ratings  ·  195 reviews


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Jim Fonseca
A story, translated from the Russian, that is part magical realism and part science fiction – a blend of old Russia and a post-apocalyptic futuristic Russia. Almost all of the action takes place in a Dr. Zhivago type sleigh ride in a blinding week-long blizzard across the frozen Russian landscape. A doctor carrying vaccine has hired a sled driver to get him to a remote village where the people have been struck by a plague. The harder the doctor tries to reach the village, the more obstacles he e ...more
Vit Babenco
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Blizzard is thoroughly stylized to the Russian classical fiction of the nineteenth century with an exception of the one little twist… And this little twist is a grand shift in reality…
“Now, the lot of ye – we gonna go for a drive?” Crouper asked his horses, and they neighed even louder.
The younger ones reared and bucked; the shaft horses and the steppe horses snorted, shook their manes, and nodded. Crouper lowered his large, rough hand, still holding the piece of bread in the other, and beg
...more
Lark Benobi
I finished re-reading The Blizzard this weekend and when I got to the end my feeling was one of exalted revelation. It felt like a completely different book from the last time. Once more I'm amazed at the way books can mean very different things, depending on who we are when we read them.

This time for me The Blizzard was about how what one thinks is important in life turns out to be not important at all. It's about how even our most terrible mistakes in life can reveal themselves over time to be
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I received a copy of this from the publisher through Edelweiss.

This is my first read of Sorokin, although I've had Day of the Oprichnik marked to read for a while. He is a living Russian author but the setting for Blizzard is 19th century Russia, so it feels like going back to the time of Tolstoy. Except there is a town suffering from a virus that turns them into zombies, and the doctor has the vaccine they need. The blizzard and other bizarre events are working against his attempts to get to th
...more
Lori
Read 12/20/15 - 1/1/16
5 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best Book
Pages: 192
Publisher: FSG
Released: December 2015
Translated by: Jamey Gambrell




What better day to review Vladimir Sorokin's The Blizzard, as I sit here on the couch in the midst of our very own blizzard? Wrapped up in the relative warmth of a fuzzy blanket, hands cupping a mug of spiced tea, as the wind whips the ever falling snow back and forth beyond my front windows, it's easy to take for granted the bone-chilling, snot-freez
...more
Madeline
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars

Translated into English from Russian. The Blizzard: A Novel is a quirky short story and I loved it.

The premise of this dystopian story is simple: A Dr. stranded in a blizzard, has the vaccine to prevent people from turning into Zombies.

Okay....sounds interesting. I haven't read too many Zombie books, but I thought I would give it a try....and I am glad that I did.

This story is about the journey of a Dr who wants to do his job; save people's lives.

What an adventure! You will read abo
...more
Ioana
I guess, as they say, "there's a first for everything". In this case, The Blizzard is the first that I've ever not appreciated/felt/enjoyed a Russian author. Russian (and Romanian, obviously, and in general Eastern European) literature molds, reflects, illuminates, and inspires my soul, because it is born in a unique landscape that was also my childhood, my source of personal myths and ways of looking at things.

This nostalgia for childhood is nothing special; in my case, reading Russian/Eastern
...more
Jim
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes, especially with fantasy, it is best to use a lighter touch. Take Vladimir Sorokin's The Blizzard: A Novel could very well be set in the 19th century except for a cellphone at one point and a mention that Stalin happened a long time ago.

The story has a dramatic start. Platon Ilich Garin is a physician traveling during a major blizzard with vaccinations against the Bolivian Black Plague, which has broken out in nearby Dolgoye. He needs horses to take him there (aren't there cars?) and f
...more
Paul Dembina
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strange (in a good way) amalgam of traditional 19th century style Russian literature crossed with post-apocalyptic SF. A doctor's struggle to deliver a vaccine to a remote village during a blizzard. Features tiny (and huge) horses, mind-altering drugs and giants. What's not to like?
Charles Dee Mitchell
Whenever I review of foreign language work of speculative fiction, I find myself including a statement reflecting my certainty that readers of the work in its original language – Russian, Spanish, Estonian, whatever – have a fuller experience of its subtleties, humor, and imagery than I. That statement usually comes towards the end of the review, but with Vladimir Sorokin’s The Blizzard, I have decided to put it up front. I feel certain that his Russian readers have a – well, as I said.

It helps
...more
Bettie
Jan 24, 2017 marked it as maybe
Description from Jason Weisberger: A Russian district doctor must deliver the anti-zombie vaccine to a rural town, or it's inhabitants will suffer. A short ride and simple mission become an existential nightmare as The Blizzard blocks his path.

Garin must deliver the vaccine before zombies tunnel out of Dologye, but no one seems to share his urgency. It should be an easy trip, and if he'd stop rushing, everything seems clear he'll make it there tomorrow. Aided by palm-sized horses, designer drug
...more
Melanie
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Is it the past or the future? Is that a snow-covered hill or a dead giant? Did our sled, which is pulled by a team of tiny horses that are the size of birds, hit a rock or a mystical drug-pyramid? And why, dear Christian God why, won't it stop snowing?! There's a zombie plague going on and we have the vaccine!

The Blizzard feels, from the very beginning, so familiar to anyone who's read any Russian literature. A doctor in a snowstorm, his progress held up by yokels: it's kind of a classic trope.
...more
Eye of Sauron
This is a nice little novel full of futility, helplessness, abuse, and death. And a bit of drug use.

The setting is pretty awesome; it's a Russia that feels like the 19th century, but is actually much later. Most of this is implied or left out, but it seems to be Russia post-collapse, where currency, infrastructure, and most technology have been obliterated (except some interesting random bits, like a self-growing zoogenous tent fabric and a holographic radio). As expected in Russia, there are pr
...more
Andrew
Sep 02, 2019 added it
Shelves: russian-fiction
Giant snowman dick. That's all.

It starts Chekhovian, and gets weird, and I really, really don't want to say anything more (other than aforementioned giant snowman dick). It sneaks up on you weird. While I wasn't as awed as I was by Day of the Oprichnik, which absolutely blew my mind, The Blizzard is still like nothing else you will ever read, even if the construction seems a bit flawed at points.
Hannah
WTF did I just read?

This is translated from Russian, and I read it as my Russia slot in the "Around the World in 80 Books" challenge.

For a book nominally about zombies, there's a distinct lack of zombies. However, there's the surprising addition of over-sized and under-sized humans and animals, first encountered with a 50-horsepower snowmobile... Powered by 50 miniature horses.

There are no chapter breaks and the accents can be a little overwhelming, but I think they add to the story. It's such
...more
Iana
Dec 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first book by Sorokin so far. Amazing in a way how it weaves in dystopian SciFi elements into a 19th century setting. Thereby obliquely telling us something about contemporary Russia - High tech but backward at same time. Looks like a genetically modified world, in which GM living beings replace mechanical technology like cars, trains, tractors; futuristic ICT technology lives along phone lines that don't work in winter. All that set in a long tradition of Russian novels or travel writers: Go ...more
David
Feb 28, 2016 rated it liked it
A surreal and bizarre trip to deliver a vaccine to an isolated town in Russia. It was a lot of fun to read, quite bizarre, but I feel like I was missing out on the meaning that the author was trying to drive at. That may be a more personal failing than the fault of the author, or a cultural difference. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable, much like the works of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky.
Tuck
another unique novel by sorokin, surreal, real, funny, crushing struggles and the absurdity of our powerlessness to actually 'decide'. about a trip by sleigh in a north russia blizzard to deliver some much needed vacine to an isolated town under threat. or so you might think.
Bryn (Plus Others)
This was a very, very strange book and I am glad I read it and I hope I make it to the book group I am newly a part of in which we will discuss it, because I think there is a lot here that I did not get in my own reading and that it will reward discussion very richly.

I liked that it starts off very Chekhovian, with a doctor in a rural Russian village trying to get horses so he can get to the even more remote village to help the ill, and then (view spoiler)
...more
Sara
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Magical realism usually makes me want to dive headlong into a swarm of bees unless, as in the Strugatsky brothers’ work, it’s tempered with a heavy science fictional element. This one seemed to promise that, and I was hooked until the final third, when the characters are suddenly held up by a giant nose, and then a giant snow penis. And if you’re going to try to match Gogol, you have to be as good as Gogol. While beautifully written in places, this just wasn’t. It’s a bit like Snowpiercer—apocal ...more
I Watts
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Less disturbing than Day of the Oprichnik but no less astonishing. Read it one go and learn something essential by way of experience.
April
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not entirely sure I understand it, but this was great. Giants, tiny horses, and a bunch of weird happenings. Weird.
Angela
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dystopia, sci-fi, 2017
I read this in a feverish state that seemed to sync up with my paranoid rhythms perfectly. This was a fresh mix of speculative fiction and a classic Russian tale of wandering lost in a blizzard, complete with giants, little people, disturbing drugs, zombies, a prince-nez, a sled powered by fifty little horses, dumb peasants drinking vodka, and death. Fantastic.
Ten
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Other reviews have covered the major plot points. What made an impression on me was how visceral the danger seemed; how every obstacle threatened to be fatal - losing the road, slipping into a ditch, breaking the runner, wandering into the storm, falling asleep. I read the entire novel with bated breath. Almost a story crafted around the old proverb, "For want of a nail," (and at one point, a nail is literally of vital importance):

“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe
...more
Clark Hays
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dazzling and dangerous, like sunshine on fresh snow

This book is a wild ride that’s equal parts Dr. Zhivago, On the Road, No Exit, and Roadside Picnic. That is to say, it’s about a road trip through a Russian winter across a landscape scattered with unexpected artifacts (or at least, magical realist flourishes) that calls into question the human condition.

The set up is simple and insidious: a doctor must deliver medicine to a distant town to quell a zombie uprising. But stranded by a monumental b
...more
Aaron Mcquiston
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Vladimir Sorokin is nuts. His novels are filled with absurdity, politics, and the human struggle. He seems to be able to blend Latin American magic realism with traditional Russian storytelling. The Blizzard is a very good introduction into the canon of Sorokin's work. Though quite a bit of it has been translated into English, "The Blizzard" is a great place to start.

Garin, a district doctor is trying to get to a village to give the antidote to a plague that is turning into zombies, is stuck. S
...more
Mike
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
The characters are all pretty lifeless unless they're screaming about inconsequential topics. The allegory is too vague for me: journeymen traveling to an unreachable black plague; a vulgar miller and a sex-scene with his wife (using every word for butt in the English language); horses the size of partridges; a dead phallus-building giant; an inexplicable tornado. None of which really built up to more than the sum of their parts.

It appears people are reading more than my meager imagination can
...more
Jim
Aug 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
What a strange little tale. Surely it is a Russian allegory that I simply don't understand, but it was interesting nonetheless. I might have to find someone to explain it to me. :) But taken just as a story of a terribly misguided and unusual supposedly short sled trip during a blizzard that becomes something of an Odyssey of sorts, with strange meetings and occurrences. I can't say I loved it, but I didn't dislike it either, and that's saying something, since Russian authors and I seem to have ...more
Lisa Hayden Espenschade
Jun 11, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sorokin fans, readers interested in history of Russian literature
Recommended to Lisa by: Alex Z.
Shelves: read-in-russian
I didn't dislike The Blizzard but I might have made a tactical mistake: reading it right after Sorokin's Oprichnik book, which I liked much, much better. The Blizzard is a slower book, with piles of snow, travel delays, and lots of references to Russian literature. Though The Blizzard certainly has its merits and moments, Oprichnik, is more my kind of book.
Caroline
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Alas, not for me. I enjoyed that it felt like a Russian novel of old, wherein all quests are doomed to failure and the world is cold and bleak. By the end the ridiculous horse-for-engine metaphor made me want to fling it forcefully across the room. Incidentally, I have now found another downside to reading books on my iPad instead of in print.
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Vladimir Sorokin (Владимир Сорокин, Vlagyimir Szorokin) was born in a small town outside of Moscow in 1955. He trained as an engineer at the Moscow Institute of Oil and Gas, but turned to art and writing, becoming a major presence in the Moscow underground of the 1980s. His work was banned in the Soviet Union, and his first novel, The Queue, was published by the famed émigré dissident Andrei Sinya ...more
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