Andrey Platonov (real name: A.P. Klimentov) is one of the least well-known of the "silver era" of Russian/Soviet writers. This generation, active in roughly the period 1917-1937, is particularly famous for its dystopian, satirical and magical realist criticisms, with such writers as Zamyatin, Bulgakov, Ilf, Paustovsky, etc. etc. However, with this novel, Platonov definitely deserves to take his place beside them, despite never having received the respect due during his life.
"The Foundation Pit" is an extremely cynical novel describing the hollow, opportunistic, brainless and hopeless lives of a group of workers creating the living space of the future, that is, a super-highrise in which all the proletariat will be housed. This project is already obviously impossible and never-ending, but things are only worsened by the fact that none of the people involved have any idea what they are doing or living for.
Written in an very simple and effective style (as one reviewer disappointedly mentioned, do not expect any flights of high-level prose here), Platonov demonstrates the futility of the grand projects of the Stalinist period, as well as the complete impossibility for regular people to make any sense out of the government ideology and propaganda. The book is extremely grim and cynical, and the pointless despair is detailed without any softening or moderation. This may at times make it hard to keep reading, especially when Platonov describes a small nearby farming town's collectivization of agriculture, which really consists of a series of completely arbitrary lethal disasters. Nevertheless, if you like and can handle harsh books, this is a certain must read. Knowing a bit about the background of the period it describes will certainly help with the enjoyment though, as then the blunt tone of the author will come into its own.