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An international thriller, shot through with black satire and authentic detail, by the author of the highly acclaimed Death & the Penguin
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Published: 07 May 2009
Genre: Modern fiction
When the corpse of a distinguished general and presidential adviser is found, attached to an advertising balloon, lieutenant Viktor Slutsky is sent in to investigate. Meanwhile, KGB officer Nik Tsensky arrives in Kiev for a secret mission. Their quests eventually converge as they race around Europe becoming involved in a battle between the Russian and Ukrainian secret services as they hunt for hidden treasure - a stash of KGB gold. A larger-than-life hitman, bombs under furniture, a hearse, a deaf-and-dumb blonde and a backfiring automatic all play a part as Kurkov evokes a world of secret militia not seen before in Western fiction.
An ebullient black comedy... Reminiscent of the best Soviet dissident literature
Kurkov received universal praise for his debut novel Death and the Penguin-Kurkov's latest is better
Full of touches of grim insight and tactful surrealism, with just enough of the absurd to suggest a cross between John le Carre's Smiley and Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita
John Burnside, Scotland on Sunday
Kurkov is a fine satirist and a real, blackly comic.
Kurkov flips from mock-tragedy to comedy and back again, planting the ominous and the absurd neatly among deadpan descriptions of a daily life in denial
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Andrey Kurkov was born in St Petersburg in 1961. Having graduated from the Kiev Foreign Languages Institute, he worked for some time as a journalist, did his military service as a prison warder in Odessa ...