The Gardener from Ochakov Paperback – 1 Aug 2013
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"Kurkov is a master story teller, using a simple lean style for a narrative that reads like a fable or myth, rich in invention, brought to life by the deadpan depiction of local people and local events" (The Bay, Swansea)
"Kurkov masters the details superbly, writes with constant consummate wit and soufflé lightness" (Tom Adair Scotsman)
"Some see him as a latter day Bulgakov; to others he’s a Urkanian Murakami… With a characteristic mix of realism and fantasy it [The Gardener from Ochakov] will delight fans… Kurkov combines the mundane details of life in modern Ukraine (minibus taxis, tins of sprats and bottles of moonshine) with surreal elements from thrillers and sci-fi: knife wielding gangsters, or quantum leaps in the midnight suburbs. The plot rattles along like a Kiev commuter train, regularly stopping for vodka, salami and salted cucumbers…" (Phoebe Taplin Guardian)
"Quickly becomes an absorbing rollercoaster, an understated fantasy with an unlikely but likeable hero" (Matthew Dennison The Times)
"More than a clash of ages… It’s also a tale about fathers and sons and what they need from each other" (Lesley McDowell Glasgow Sunday Herald)
When Igor accidentally travels back to 1957, he finds out that the past isn't as rosy as it seems. In fact it's positively dangerousSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
On this occasion, modern Ukraine's politics are not a target of Kurkov's satire, but most of the other familiar features are present, with a new twist in that the action shuttles back and forth between Ochakov as it was in 1957 and Kiev as it is today. In 1957, the year of the launch of the first sputnik, and under Khrushchev, the Soviet Union was as confident of itself as it was ever to be. Yet, as Kurkov mercilessly points out, technology at all levels below sputnik was scarce and primitive, and corruption and criminality rife. He allows Igor one brief observation that corruption and criminality are yet worse in today's Ukraine, but the point is not laboured.
Igor blunders into Soviet Ochakov in the guise of a policeman. The policeman's uniform, complete with gun and with pockets stuffed with high denomination rouble notes, was one of the treasures collected by himself and his mother's unusual and exceedingly casual gardener, Stepan, on an earlier (so to speak) 21st century visit to Ochakov. Stepan's past was mysterious to himself as well as others, but his childhood link with Ochakov was confirmed by an old and almost indecipherable tattoo.Read more ›
I thoroughly enjoyed the humour and the slight dark edge to the writing. Igor is a great character and it was a great pleasure to find out what happens to him.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Set in modern day Kiev, an elderly gardener comes to work for Igor, a lazy, unemployed young man, and his mother. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sam Quixote
Which time is best? Same old concerns same old corruption same problems of the heart. A very amusing fable of connections.Published 10 months ago by SUSAN M BROWN
Very different to previous work but still darkly humorous. I would recommend this whether you are a long term fan or just discovering Kurkov.Published 15 months ago by L A Wood
Classic Kurkov tale comparing the good old days with present day dilemmas. Everything is resolved by the last page leaving nostalgia as the winnerPublished 16 months ago by Keith Clayton
I don't think I've read an Andrey Kurkov book I didn't love. So wonderfully quirky and entertaining. There's always something different from him :)Published 18 months ago by Kirsty Marshall
I've read all of Kurkov's fictional books and this one is up there. I was skeptical having read some reviews, but it sucks you in and doesn't disappoint.Published 19 months ago by GuildfordTony