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Envy Paperback – May 31 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics; Main edition (May 31 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590170865
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590170861
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #247,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

“In his best novel, all wry humor and narrowed eyes, Olesha presents two sides of the same coin: a self-satisfied sausage king and a drunken failure the former picks up in the street. Poetic and satiric and quite an achievement, it is a novel everyone should read.” —Flavorwire

Olesha wrote only one novel, Envy. The book was published in 1927, 10 years after the Bolshevik Revolution and a few years before the net of socialist realism fell on Russian writers….The narrative is driven by the narrator’s bitter, poetic commentary on the world. The characters represent, loosely, aspects of the new Soviet ethos. Vladimir Nabokov had a low opinion of almost everything produced in Russia after his departure, but he admired Olesha’s writing.
— Columbus Dispatch

In his best fiction, the short novel Envy, Olesha writes about the clash of two worlds, but with a wry, half-defeated yet touchingly affectionate irony that seems entirely his own.
— Irving Howe, Harper’s

Olesha’s stories are supreme and timeless cinema. To read his triumphant short novel Envy is to see it, to find the pages transformed into a screen on which to behold man’s heroic confrontation with the monsters of his own creation…Every page of Olesha demands to be read and seen again.
— The New York Times

About the Author

Yuri Olesha (1899–1960), the son of an impoverished land-owner who spent his days playing cards, grew up in Odessa, a lively multicultural city whose literary scene also included Isaac Babel. Olesha made his name as a writer with Three Fat Men, a proletarian fairy tale, and had an even greater success with Envyin 1927. Soon, however, the ambiguous nature of the novella’s depiction of the new revolutionary era led to complaints from high, followed by the collapse of his career and the disappearance of his books. In 1934, Olesha addressed the First Congress of Soviet Writers, arguing that a writer should be allowed the freedom to choose his own style and themes. For the rest of his life he wrote very little. A memoir of his youth, No Day Without a Line, appeared posthumously.

Ken Kalfus’s most recent book is a novel, The Commissariat of Enlightenment. He is also the author of two short story collections, Thirst and Pu-239 and Other Russian Fantasies.

Marian Schwartz has been translating Russian fiction and nonfiction for over thirty years. Her work includes Edvard Radzinsky’s The Last Tsar, Yuri Olesha’s Envy, and many works by Nina Berberova.


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on February 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars 13 reviews
4.0 out of 5 starsI don't envy him.
on May 10, 2008 - Published on Amazon.com
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3.0 out of 5 starsNot my favorite, but....
on November 23, 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
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One person found this helpful.
4.0 out of 5 starsNot up to the "Master and Margarita" but what is?
on May 13, 2008 - Published on Amazon.com
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13 people found this helpful.
5.0 out of 5 starsA small gem from a Russian writer, Envy was published when literary expression earned the writer government censorship or death
on November 8, 2006 - Published on Amazon.com
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2.0 out of 5 starsthere are other Russian authors I like better
on July 13, 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
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