A masterful recreation in English of the simplicity-cum-strangeness that is the hallmark of Platonov's mature prose -- Thomas Seifried, Slavonic and East European Journal, Fall 2003
As his versions of Andrey Platonov prove, Robert Chandler is the supreme translator of difficult Russian prose. -- Professor Donald Rayfield in Literary Review, June 2004
One of the finest pieces of C20 narrative prose ... and this is surely one of the finest fiction translations. -- Angela Livingstone,The Literary Review, August 2003
Platonov is considered the greatest post-revolution Russian writer. His translators
convey his unique voice and astonishing language -- Shusha Guppy, The Independent, June 2003
Platonov is now belatedly, but justifiably, joining the ranks of Russian writers of world stature. -- Sarah Smyth, The Irish Times, 19 APRIL 2003
Platonov's vision is revealed in the subtlest nuances. (...) Rarely does literature come this close to being music. -- David Isaacson in 'The Observer', June 1 2003
Platonov's vivid images of the desert have an almost hallucinatory quality. -- David Issacson, 'The Guardian', April 19, 2003
Robert and Elizabeth Chandler's latest translation of Platonov's work beautifully captures the resonances of his language. -- Irish Times, June 2003
SOUL is one of the finest pieces of C20 narrative prose ... this translation has a sustained, almost magical musicality. -- Professor Angela Livingstone in Literary Review, August 2003
Soul is a novel of epic grandeur and mythic depth. -- Shusha Guppy, The Independent, June 2003
From the Author
Platonov wrote SOUL in 1935, after spending several months in Soviet Central Asia. The novel was first published in Russia, in a highly censored version, only in 1966; an unexpurgated Russian text was first published only in 1999.
The plot is simple enough. The hero, Chagataev, born in Central Asia but educated in Moscow, is sent back to his birthplace in order to rescue his people -- believed to be lost in the desert -- and lead them to Communism. After a fashion, he succeeds -- although his people prove to have their own ideas about where they wish to be led and he proves to need their help as much as they need his.
Platonov has a unique ability to construct and deconstruct a myth at the same time. His greatness, however, is not simply a matter of his psychological and philosophical complexity; more important is his success in embodying this complexity in the vocabulary and syntax of every sentence.