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Penguin Lost [Paperback]

Andrey Kurkov
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

3 Mar 2005

Viktor - last seen in Death and the Penguin fleeing Mafia vengeance on an Antarctica-bound flight booked for Penguin Misha - seizes a heaven-sent opportunity to return to Kiev with a new identity. Clear now as to the enormity of abandoning Misha, then convalescent from a heart-transplant, Viktor determines to make amends. Viktor falls in with a Mafia boss who engages him to help in his election campaign, then introduces him to men who might further his search for Misha, said to be in a private zoo in Chechnya.

What ensues is for Viktor both a quest and an odyssey of atonement, and, for the reader, an experience as rich, topical and illuminating as Death and the Penguin.

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Penguin Lost + Death And The Penguin (Panther) + A Matter Of Death And Life
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (3 Mar 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099461692
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099461692
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 13 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Delicious-when Viktor finally finds Misha it is as if Woody Allen had gone to meet Kurtz" (Spectator)

"There is more magic in his realism than in a library of witches and wizards" (Scotland on Sunday)

"Rich, authentic and entertaining" (New Statesman)

"This grotesque post-Soviet world is tinged with Dostoevskian absurdity" (Independent)

"Death and the Penguin was praised for its brutal humour, tender humanity and all-out guts. Penguin Lost is a sequel equally superlative and twice as readable" (Ink)

Book Description

'A darkly comic and offbeat journey. P-p-p-pick it up!' - Scotsman

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak sequel to Death and the Penguin 30 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was for the main part disappointing, lacking a strong storyline and without the paciness and satire of the first part of the Penguin story. In this story Viktor goes in search of his penguin Misha that he 'lost' in the first episode after falling foul of the Mafia, writing Obituaries for a Government agency, involved in the liquidation or cleansing of society of its criminal elements. There are some interesting themes. Viktor in search of the wretched Penguin ends up in Chechnya. By way of hoping to meet the Boss who holds Misha, he embarks on a period of work for the aforementioned Khachaev, and finds himself disposing of corpses in a decommissioned oil industry furnace!
Something of the worst elements of Stalins 30's immediately spring to mind. There is no emotion or morality ever questioned by author or characters, which is quite disturbing, and no doubt is intended to reflect the moral vacuum of the former Soviet space.
Towards the end of the book, the story loses its way and becomes quite tedious. Viktor thankfully finally gets a fast boat to Argentina with some Bosnian Croats and conveniently marries the ship captains daughter, thus escaping his Ukrainian life which had promised more-and maybe worse- of the same. More importantly the morose penguin is finally liberated, and with a final hard stare disappears from the pages of a book forever.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing and unnecessary sequel. 12 May 2004
By Pirlo
Firstly, this book will make very little sense if you have not read 'Death and the Penguin', which introduced Viktor and Misha, the penguin who he adopted when the Kiev zoo closed down. The first book is quite brilliant, especially for the maudlin character of Misha, who suffers from depression and is integral to the plot set in post-Soviet Ukraine. A typical Kurkov joke is to describe another human character as 'Misha-non-Penguin' to distinguish him from the penguin.
'Penguin Lost' suffers for the absence of Misha- the plot is disjointed and jumps from one idea to the next - within 3 pages of the start, a coincidental meeting to cause Viktor to leave Antartica and provides him a reason to go to Moscow. Similarly convenient events occur to take the plot through the corruption of post-Soviet politics and the war in Chechenya.
Whereas the first book was effortless and full of mordant humour, the second seems forced, as if written to order. I very much wanted to enjoy this book, but regret that it is an average novel on its own merit and a sad and unnecessary sequel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sequel, and a more mature piece of work 8 Nov 2011
This is very much a sequel to Death And The Penguin, Andrey Kurkov's first novel, and if you have not already read that you would do well to do so before reading Penguin Lost.

In Death and the Penguin we meet Viktor Zolotaryov, who adopted a king penguin, Misha, at a time when Kiev Zoo could not afford to feed all its animals. Misha lived with Viktor in his one bedroom flat, initially alone. As the novel proceeds, Viktor, as warm hearted as his name suggests (in Russian, zoloto is gold) acquires some other flatmates too, but is separated from Misha.

In Penguin Lost, Viktor sets about not only recovering Misha but, having done so, returning him to his natural Antarctic habitat. The name of the novel, Penguin Lost, is derived from some posters that a small girl, Sonya, makes to stick up around Kiev. Her nanny advises that the advertised 5000 UHR reward will produce five penguins straight away, some from as far afield as Moscow. It doesn't quite work out that way, but Viktor's pursuit of Misha's trail does take him to Moscow - and on to Chechnya! As in Death and the Penguin, gangsters and local mafias are never far away, and it becomes necessary for Viktor to do business with more than one of them. As ever with Kurkov, the absurd and surreal are given an absolutely lifelike setting, with Kiev and Kievans particularly well described.

I enjoyed this novel. Written six years after Death and the Penguin, the style is more mature and, because the 1999-2000 setting was by the time of writing in the past, Kurkov is more sure of the background. Death and the Penguin involved some predictions for the future, not all of which actually came true. All in all, Penguin Lost is a good read, with some solid food for thought and reflection afterwards, but do read Death and the Penguin first.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lost something in the translation? 17 Oct 2006
As strange and surreal as Death and the Penguin, but not quite as good. The story is a real rollercoaster, galloping along, taking bizarre and sudden twists and turns, but it seemed a bit patchy. Some sections were very detailed, while others just sketched. It almost felt like there were bits missing, or as if the translating was rather perfunctory in places (although the same translator worked on both Penguin books).

Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it, and will read more Kurkov when I get the opportunity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
In this volume we follow the most recent adventures of Viktor the writer and Misha the penguin, whom we've first met in Death and the Penguin.
Andrey Kurkov does in this book exactly what he did in the previews one: he throws his hero into the most extreme and extravagant situations and using black humor as his weapon of choice he once again comes to describe the world as it came to be after the fall of the Soviet Union.
At the beginning of the novel we meet Viktor onboard a big ship heading for Antarctica, where he's supposed to settle in a research facility. During the journey he becomes a very good friend with a mysterious man called Stanislav Bronikovsky, a man who's very sure, and afraid, that someone's following him. While playing chess and drinking vodka the two men will come so close to each other that the latter will trust the former with a very serious and kind of mysterious mission, and he'll also offer him the means to see it through. So, using Stanislav's Polish passport, Viktor will return to Kiev, his home town, which he had to leave in a hurry not so long ago, hunted as he was by some criminals.
Arriving there though, he'll come face to face with a few surprises, as things during his absence seem to have taken a turn for the better and for the worse at the same time. On the one hand he'll find out that his life is no longer under threat, but on the other he'll also discover that his girlfriend Nina and his kind of adopted daughter Sonia are now living in his house with another man. For some reason though he'll not get as upset as one would expect about that. Besides, he has other things in his mind. Firstly he has to learn where his beloved Misha is, and then he has to honor his word and deliver a package to Stanislav's wife in Moscow.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read.
Superb story.
Published 5 days ago by G. J. Matthews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Dark humour and grim truths in post-Soviet Ukraine and Russia.
Published 1 month ago by R. Healey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good follow-up to 'Death and the Penguin'.
Published 1 month ago by MR DAVID G WALLIS
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love these books always sorry to finish them
Published 2 months ago by helen Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Product.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in this subject. Amazon is the best value for money.
Published 8 months ago by O SHYNKARUK
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile continuation of a fantastic tale.
While Death and the Penguin willingly lead the reader through an often unwilling life; Penguin Lost seems somehow to stumble effortlessly through a worthwhile continuation of the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Pointandsayyeah
5.0 out of 5 stars Wry, dark humor...loved it
I wanted to write a review to respond to some of the criticism of this book from those who read "Death and Penguin" first. Read more
Published 19 months ago by PFS Jr.
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointng
I really enjoyed Death And The Penguin, but the sequel was a big let-down.

It has thinner characterisation, staccato plot, and the penguin idea loses its charm. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Trashy novel reader
5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting sequel
Excellent read and a fitting sequel to the marvellous Death and the Penguin, which does need to be read first. Read more
Published on 16 Oct 2011 by A. J. Kubicki
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant sense of living in anarchy
I bought this, and Death and the Penguin, for a good friend who just moved to a new apartment with a Ukrainian neighbour. Read more
Published on 16 Sep 2010 by BrusselsAl
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