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Moscow to the End of the Line (European Classics) [Paperback]

Venedikt Erofeev , H.W. Tjalsma
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: 16.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press; Reprint edition (31 Mar 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810112000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810112001
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.9 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 98,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A satirical novel of alcohol, politics, Soviet society, and love. The story of a cable fitter who is fired from his job for charting his co-workers' jobs against the amount of alcohol they have consumed.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful beyond belief 28 Jun 2000
By A Customer
As above, but my proviso (as a reader of Russian language) is that the more recent translation (as "Moscow Stations") is truer to the original and better in style. Best line "Eat less, drink more, so as not to be a superficial atheist". Large measures of Dostoevsky and Gogol alongside Brezhnev stagnation era realia! Both hilariously funny and tragic, with a positive spiritual message that reveals itself with repeated reads.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vanichka's Journey 21 Dec 2002
By A Customer
Moskva-Petushki, which is translated in English as Moscow to the End of the Line, is Venedikt Erofeev's greatest work, one drunken man's (Venichka's) journey on the Moskovskaia-Gor'skovskaia train line to visit his lover and child in the Petushki. En route, Venichka talks with other travelers in dialogue and he also speaks in monologue about various themes such as drinking, Russian literature and philosophy and the sad, poetic soul of the Russian peasant. As the novel progresses, it becomes increasingly dark, disoriented, hallucinogenic and surrealistic, in proportion to the narrator's alcohol intake.
Moscow to the End of the Line was written in 1970. During this time, Erofeev, himself, was traveling around the Soviet Union working as a telephone cable layer. Erofeev's friends have said the author made the story up in order to entertain his fellow workers as they traveled, and that many of these fellow workers were later incorporated as characters in the book.
The text of the novel began to be circulated in samizdat within the Soviet Union and then it was smuggled to the West where it was eventually translated into English. The official Russian language publication took place in Paris in 1977. With glasnost, Moscow to the End of the Line was able to be circulated freely within Russia, but, rather than stick to the original form, the novel was abridged in the government pamphlet Sobriety and Culture, ostensibly as a campaign against alcoholism. Finally, in 1995, it was officially published, together with all the formerly edited obscenities and without censorship.
Although he is an alcoholic, Venichka never comes across to the reader as despicable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stopping train... 27 Jun 2009
By Sporus
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
I don't deny this is an important book - even a profound one - but you'd probably enjoy it more if you expected less than the 'five star' grading that most of the other reviewers give it. I'm a fan of Russian literature, but Slavic humour is a slippery fish. Dostoevsky is full of laughs, but only if you're lucky enough to get the right translation; and to me the European Classic's version of Erofeev's work feels soggy and leaden. The paradisical rewards of 'booze lit' are similarly suggested in the sense, but not the syntax, of the words and - for a comparatively slim volume - it makes for an unexpectedly arduous trip.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Drinking For Measure 20 Jun 2008
By demola
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
A very funny story. "Go to Petushki. There'll you'll find salvation". With these words ringing in his ears Venya set off on the long train ride from Moscow. Goaded on by angels and demons (vodka and beer) he falls into all manner of reveries with like minded passengers mulling over everything from life to love to literature to politics. His account of his (imagined) travels to western europe are hilarious. The tone is merry and there's a lot to mull over. One side of this coin is the easy comradeship that comes from drinking together. The other side of the coin is the pit that comes with drinking too much. A funny book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Erofeev: the Holy Fool as Moscow Drunk. 8 Oct 1997
By A Customer
Venedikt Erofeev wrote--not terribly prolifically--for most of his life, but received no official recognition from the Soviet establishment. And though his works circulated underground--in the samizdat circles--he did not fit the mold of the Soviet dissident writer a la Solzhenitsyn, at least in the sense that American Cold Warriors approved. His works, most often focusing on brief episodes in the lives of inveterate drinkers, dealt not with Soviet heroes or even bourgeois villains, but with those left totally disillusioned with a society which had officially lost its soul. His characters were drunks, but drunks who in their suffering knew grace, not Western anti-heroes but Brezhnevian updates of Russian holy fools. "Moskva-Petushki"--translated as "Moscow to the End of the Line"--is generally considered his masterpiece.
The novel consists basically of a long from Moscow to Petushki, where the narrator, an ex-construction foreman who shares the name of the author, plans on meeting his girlfriend and child. "Venichka," as the character is affectionately called, begins the novel waking from a drunken sleep to find more alcohol, and for the rest of the novel gets drunker. His confusions and hallucinations are the true subject of the book. In Erofeev--and he comments on this subject in the book itself--the effect of alcohol is not physical, but spiritual.
Erofeev's novel functions on a number of levels. His humor, as a reviewer notes on the back cover, is the equal of Gogol's. For this reason alone, he merits attention. But "Moscow to the End of the Line" offers more than humor.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars INCOMPREHENSIBLE
I didn't understand this book, so perhaps I shouldn't review it. I tried to understand where the author was going, with his drunken gibberish and opaque commentary, but I just... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mr. Michael Richard Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical Celebration of Alcoholism
Alcohol and literature sometimes go hand in hand. In this semi-personal account of the last day of his life, Venedict Erofeev (VE; 1938-90) complains that whenever he wants to see... Read more
Published 19 months ago by P. A. Doornbos
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious, Poignant, Self-Indulgent
This novel or "prose-poem" was completed in the USSR by the author in 1969 and published in the West in the 1970s. The English translation I read, by J. R. Read more
Published on 1 Feb 2012 by Reader in Tokyo
5.0 out of 5 stars Beatific ‘Booze Lit’ at its best
‘MTTEOTL’ records the thoughts of an incurable alcoholic (Venya) as he takes his final train journey from Moscow to Petushki, where his girlfriend and child await him. Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2006 by Depressaholic
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece
This is clearly one of the masterpieces of twentieth century Russian letters. Sometimes I cheer myself up just by reading the passage where the angels appear to Benny (the... Read more
Published on 25 Aug 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Soviet Russia 'underground', hurting and drunk
The protagonist of this book is a drunk, and he's not a happy one. He's ranting; stabbingly lucid and resisting, then craving, transformation -- but it's impossible to achieve. Read more
Published on 6 Mar 1998
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