Moscow Stations, Venedikt Yerofeev's autobiographical novel, is in many ways the successor to Gogol's Dead Souls. The two works are comic historical bookends, with Gogol's novel portraying the sloth and corruption of feudal Russia and Yerofeev's novel portraying the sloth and corruption of feudal Communism. The truth is that while the streets of Moscow may be clogged with Volvos and Mercedes sedans these days - in keeping with the new capitalism - the anguish and dissipation of the late, coruscating empire are still the real fact of life for most people. Moscow Stations remains a lesson in the current events of the Russian soul.
The novel is a mixture of high, drunken comedy - a portrait of a soul filled with wisdom and pickled in Hunter's vodka who spends his days traipsing around Moscow but has never once seen the Kremlin. With this cheerful admission we are off on a hallucinatory ride through the increasingly desperate mind of Venedikt Yerofeev. He once remarked that Moscow Stations was 'ninety pages of funny stuff and ten pages of sad stuff' but it is mostly about a clear-eyed man who can still say, no matter how much he has drunk: 'I, who have consumed so much that I've lost track of how much, and in what order - I'm the soberest man in the world.'