on 13 September 2012
This is a stark depiction of a future Russia that is built around the worst of the practices of their past leaders. The hypocrisy is exceeded only by the brutality. This is also a disturbing book that would be funny in reading if it wasn't so serious in effect.
With books that have been translated into English, I never know if I am actually reading the "style" of the author or the translator. And, not knowing Russian, I have to assume the translator did a great job. Given the acclaim the book received in Russia and how well this read, I think Gambrell did a fine job.
While the events portrayed are, from a practical standpoint, highly unlikely; they are, from a philosophical standpoint, certainly plausible. Given the history of Russia in the 20th Century, the reader will not be very surprised at Sorokin's "world".
on 8 July 2014
The satire on Putin's Russia is clear, and in its way effective, but as a literary work Day of the Oprichnik soon palls. The excess of this dystopian vision rapidly becomes repetitive - by the final chapters what are supposed to be further revelations of Oprichnik decadence become vague irritants. Speculative fictions that are unmoored from any real internal reality (no matter how fantastic) lose the reader's interest rapidly.