[Read Online] Death and the PenguinAuthor Andrey Kurkov – Schematicwiringdiagram.co

Viktor is an aspiring writer with only Misha, his pet penguin, for company Although he would prefer to write short stories, he earns a living composing obituaries for a newspaper He longs to see his work published, yet the subjects of his obituaries continue to cling to life But when he opens the newspaper to see his work in print for the first time, his pride swiftly turns to terror He and Misha have been drawn into a trap from which there appears to be no escape


10 thoughts on “Death and the Penguin

  1. Mariel Mariel says:

    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 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 up to other kids parties kids you didn t know very well, or at all just in case no one else showed up Why are there no black veiled women in the back What else is the measure of success Penguin reads like reading about strangers who you are worried for in case no one else is Kind of At least, until I wore out my welcome like those kids parties This girl told me that she had her real party the next day and this was the one for me to go to I began to feel a bit like that Why can t I just say it dragged a bit, like a normal person Or it is an obituary Did Ashton Kutcher tweet about it or did he delegate to his missus I m not crazy Viktor s job is writing obits He also goes to funerals Not crazy Viktor is a forty something year old writer living in post soviet Ukraine Okay, Viktor reminded me of my ex boyfriend in some not too comfortable ways it was eerie Right down to the pissing and moaning about how it wasn t sunny one day, as if that was something anyone else had control over He s a writer too and he whines a whole lot about not having time to write when he doesn t write much when he does have time Like it is anyone else s fault or you are stopping them from writing Viktor whines about having to have a day job to pay the bills Okay, I may be projecting the high level of douchiness onto Viktor He was not as bad as my ex boyfriend But still I didn t warm to Viktor at all because of this similarity Don t they know that everyone has to work and it isn t always something that makes us feel fulfilled Suck it up, Vik It was a weird place to want to tell Viktor that he was lucky to have a job and have food to put on the table when I had the feeling it was meant to be a situation for the reader to sympathize with him He was sad He was afraid to feel happy for what he had I started to worry about the other people in his life, in case he wasn t appreciating them There s only so much you can do if he s willfully blind, you know.Should I spoil the plot There s mafia reasons behind the obits and missing bodies I didn t care as much about this stuff I didn t care at all about the forced penguin performances at funerals except to want to cry for Misha when he collapses after all of those funerals in the rain Viktor should have stood up for him Misha was a penguin in the zoo until he was a penguin in Viktor s apartment I love Misha so much I worried about him I felt like I knew how he felt He stared at the wall I wanted to listen for his foot falls I wanted to keep him company Viktor was a tool whining about his sunny days Misha was too hot It was pretty brilliant the way that Kurkov wrote the worry here Viktor was alone and Misha was alone They had each other to notice they were there at least on good days Yet there had to be a push pull for Misha belonged in the cold and Viktor wanted the warmth They weren t of a kind They really are the terminal whiners dream couple Who do you want to be with when you can t stand to declare yourself When you don t know what you want I admire Kurkov for writing this so well Viktor and Misha have other friends of a kind in their lives The kinds of friends who cannot step on your toes Can you stop looking at your feet to see that they are unstepped on Okay, I admit that Viktor would chase me away I would leave the party I don t want to step on his feet and I would hate for anyone to think I wanted to step on their feet It was neat that Death and the Penguin made me feel like I could be there to do that.It was really too bad about the boring mafia plot that took over towards the end There s a second book I m nervous about reading it What if it makes me too worried about Misha that I can t stand it I want to have hope that he ll get to swim in ice cold water and come back for a pat on the head, if he wants it Fuck I did that review thing where I only thought about the interpersonal relationships again So the obits were pretty good and Viktor got a bit of an ego about them The obits are another way of trying to make amends for what they or someone else did Worrying In case something is too late They were about some pretty terrible people and he wrote about them in a humanistic way with some philosophy thrown in all better than I make it sound I m not a writer I was wondering how he would have written about some of the famous people who have recently died For example, a certain dictator I bet he wouldn t have credited Steve Jobs with pixar either Or painted Christopher Hitchens as a saint I also liked a whole lot that the former USSR was this bizarre world you couldn t figure out and so they don t try to That was pretty good for not attempting to explain away why they would want to have someone write obits for people they wanted dead Or give away penguins to civilians Or any of it It felt like the wall that Misha is always staring at He doesn t look at the wall, really What is there to see It s there to lean towards and ignore Pretty perfect for when you re trapped in some place that doesn t make sense and you know you don t belong there Misha staring at the wall is the image from the book that stands out in my mind the most I


  2. Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Maja (The Nocturnal Library) says:

    3.5 starsThere 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 3.5 starsThere 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 and somewhat eccentric writer, chooses to adopt a penguin named Misha Together, he and Misha move into a small apartment where they spend the next year struggling to make ends meet Viktor occasionally sells a story to the newspaper, but there are months when they barely scrape by So when the newspaper editor offers Viktor a strange, but intriguing and well paid job, he is quick to accept What the editor needs is someone to write obituaries in advance, seeing as he was caught unprepared onthan one occasion When someone famous dies, the newspaper needs to have a touching obituary ready for print It is now Viktor s job to make a list of the most influential people, gather information about their lives, write an obituary and sign it with a vague A group of friendsWhat we re after is a gifted obituarist, master of the succinct Snappy, pithy, way out stuff s the idea You with me He looked hopefully at Viktor Sit in an office, you mean, and wait for deaths Viktor asked warily, as if fearing to hear as much confirmed No, of course not Farinteresting and responsible than that What you d have to do is create, from scratch, an index of obelisk jobs as we call obituaries to include deputies and gangsters, down to the cultural scene that sort of person while they re still alive His job may not be something to write home about, but Viktor soon discovers that he excels at it He is so good, in fact, that he starts getting requests from other clients as well His only problem is that his works are not getting published since no one has actually died But that is something a friend and client of his, Misha non penguin, might be willing to fix even without Viktor s knowledge What could be the favorite pastime of a bored writer and his pet penguin with a depressive syndrome That s easy ice fishing This entire novel is an orgy of absurdity Nothing in it makes any sense at all The only thing that makes sense is how much I enjoyed reading it and how much I m looking forward to reading Penguin Lost


  3. Melki Melki says:

    anhedonia noun an h d n , ny an inability to experience pleasure in normally pleasurable actsThere 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, wellnothing 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, h anhedonia noun an h d n , ny an inability to experience pleasure in normally pleasurable actsThere 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, wellnothing 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 pet penguin, suffers from the same lack of enjoyment of life, though it is later revealed that he is ill, not just unhappy Viktor is determined to keep the penguin alive at all costs yet even their relationship seems controlled by duty rather than affection The ending hints of unfinished business and I understand there is a sequel I m curious, but doubt that I can take any of Viktor s wet blanket disposition.Blech


  4. Emma Emma says:

    3.5 starsA 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 thestriking 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, feelnormal 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 3.5 starsA 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 thestriking 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, feelnormal 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 in exchange for his flat men disappear, or are disappeared, with little or no explanation there are gunshots in the street, gangsters who cannot be refused, and no sense of safety Viktor spends the majority of the novel as a passenger in his own life, choices are made for him, and his only flash of agency comes at the end when it becomes a case of life or death.I picked this up after listening to Kurkov on the BBC World Book Club He was interesting, political, informed, funny His explanation of the book wasinteresting than the book itself The satire just wasn t quite sharp enough Plus, the penguin was a much better character than anyone else and we are left wondering about his fate What kind of author does that


  5. LeAnne: GeezerMom LeAnne: GeezerMom says:

    Ukrainian satire isn t something I d typically read, but it s good to broaden one s horizons I think that this book must resonatewith those who lived in the post Soviet world, although the loneliness relieved only by a buddy named Sergey and a large, depressed penguin named Misha was really well written The humor was witty and dark, the story quirky, and you had to enjoy architecture called Stalin baroque Our hero is a depressive sort who cannot get published for his short stories Ukrainian satire isn t something I d typically read, but it s good to broaden one s horizons I think that this book must resonatewith those who lived in the post Soviet world, although the loneliness relieved only by a buddy named Sergey and a large, depressed penguin named Misha was really well written The humor was witty and dark, the story quirky, and you had to enjoy architecture called Stalin baroque Our hero is a depressive sort who cannot get published for his short stories, but instead is hired to write pre obituaries for various hoi polloi just in case said notables should suddenly drop dead and the editor be left scrambling for a high quality write up of the deceased s contributions to the world Our guy is charged with pondering who might require a flowery written send off but also might be at risk for departing for the hereafter Let s see, who is most likely to die and therefor get my work published terribly disliked politicians elderly artists mob bosses..When he is writing these non obituary obituaries, he tends to puff up the life of the pre deceased Mobsters are given a little style and grace, maybe some kindnesses nobody knew about fiction, but hey he is a writer These write ups end up being really good, and wouldn t you know it The people he has chosen to memorialize suddenly all start ending up dead.Toss in a new friend, a lonely penguin adopted from the zoo during their financial crisis, a kid, a gal, and quite a few funerals and you get humor But dark, nearly depressive humor It s Ukrainian satire Someone drew my attention to this review today, and seeing that there is actually a sequel, I decided to update this and to also get my hands on the new penguin tale Bad pun Sad and almost funny That means Im ready So glad I read it


  6. El El says:

    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 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, and Eastern European Take that, satire.This is a pretty strange little mystery novel, all the while feeling actually sort of normal throughout I don t want to discuss the story itself for fear of spoiling anything this is a book that is best read going into it without knowing much about it, I think It sfun that way, watching the story unravel and getting to know Viktor and his pet penguin, Misha.Kurkov wrote a sequel to this, Penguin Lost, which I can see myself going on to read.ETA After some reflection, I ve decided that surrealist isn t the appropriate word for this book Absurd would fit the bill nicely The story is absurd in the best possible way


  7. Nigeyb Nigeyb says:

    I read Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov for my book group and came to it knowing nothing about it I really enjoyed the story of Viktor Zolotaryov, a frustrated writer, whose short stories are too short and uneventful to be published When a newspaper editor unexpectedly offers Viktor a job as an obituarist, with reasonable pay, and working from home, he agrees His original style delights his editor Initially he has to select powerful figures from the Ukrainian elite and prepare their I read Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov for my book group and came to it knowing nothing about it I really enjoyed the story of Viktor Zolotaryov, a frustrated writer, whose short stories are too short and uneventful to be published When a newspaper editor unexpectedly offers Viktor a job as an obituarist, with reasonable pay, and working from home, he agrees His original style delights his editor Initially he has to select powerful figures from the Ukrainian elite and prepare their obituaries ready for their death and, as the volume of obituaries increases, Viktor realises that his obituaries seem to foreshadow the subject s death Death and the Penguin is a blackly comic critique of post Soviet corruption in Ukraine and the inevitable bleakness is part of the novel s appeal Viktor s pet penguin, Misha, is a marvellous creation who symbolises the confusion and loss of community that characterises post Soviet Ukraine Just as Misha the penguin is cut off from his natural, collective and co opeative environment so Viktor is struggling to survive in a city that is confusing and unwelcoming to its human population.Whilst this may all sound a tad depressing, be reassured that it s actually very readable, amusing and quietly rails against the world it describes The plot is original and surprising, making the book something of a page turner, and it includes lots of interesting details about Ukrainian habits and culture, not least how alcohol seems to accompany every social interaction no matter what time of the day or night In short, it s a charming, gripping, original, funny and provocative absurdist novel 4 5


  8. Rick Riordan Rick Riordan says:

    Another slim book,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 Another slim book,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 glimpse into modern Ukrainian problems I hope things really aren t as bad as portrayed, but I have a feeling the author had a lot of real life material to draw from


  9. Katie Katie says:

    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 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 unbelieveable as it should Andrey Kurkov s deadpan narrative style works perfectly in this book It is impossible not to laugh at the very serious way in which Viktor takes his penguin to go swimming in the frozen river, but wraps him up in a towel when he emerges so that he doesn t get cold Equally amusing is the thought of someone going into hiding and taking a penguin not exactly inconspicuous with him In a novel in which most relationships are simply based on the characters wanting something out of each other for their own personal benefit, the peculiar bond between Viktor and Misha the penguin stands out and is oddly touching I expected the penguin to be responsible for a lot of the humour in the book, but not for the emotion as well


  10. Judy Judy says:

    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 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 in one afternoon The chapters are very short.This is a good book for Around the Worlders.4 stars