Book review: Pushkin Hills, By Sergei Dovlatov Alma


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The Independent Culture

Uproarious, reckless, zany, Sergei Dovlatov (who died in American exile in 1990) belonged to the last generation of dissident authors in the doomed USSR.

In this short, breakneck novel, a sort of pitch-black literary farce, the alcoholic writer Boris Alikhanov takes a tour-guide job on Pushkin's country estate.

Vodka-fuelled mishaps, grotesque comic cameos and – above all – quick-fire dialogue that swings and stings propel this furious twilight romp (translated by the author's daughter Katherine) from the final days of Soviet power.