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Aiden Murphy
Aiden Murphy

The Fatal Eggs And Other Soviet Satire ((FULL))

An uneven collection of satire from the Stalinist years to the present, overshadowed by similar and far better undertakings, e.g. Dissonant Voices in Soviet Literaure. (Pantheon, 1962). Four of the authors are well-known: Zamyatin (whom Trotsky wittily dubbed ""an internal emigre"") has an ironic invention concerning bureaucracy; Zoshchenko characteristically spoofs the new social order; Ilf and Petrov offer a quickie vaudeville on literature and ideology; and the young Kazakov, hardly a humorist, is dragged in with two mild exchanges on certain provincial and/or propagandistic absurdities. Six of his contemporaries are also here, each alloted a sketch, each nothing more than an extended quip. Others from the older generation (Romanov, Katayev, Leonov, Kolstov, Shishkov) present random impeities on Party hackdom, local conditions, inefficiency, etc. The best; Lavrenyov's strange, laughter-in-the-dark interlude about NEP and war communism; and Bulgakov's novelette, the title piece, a science fiction burlesque with historical overtones (in the interests of Progress, a professor's electric ray unexpectedly hatches snakes from eggs which overrun the country, causing a havoc subtly paralleling the dire days of 1928). Both hilarious and gruesome, the Bulgakov entry is a welcome import.

The Fatal Eggs and Other Soviet Satire



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