- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Serpent's Tail; New Ed edition (13 Nov. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 185242480X
- ISBN-13: 978-1852424800
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 782,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Incidences Paperback – 13 Nov 2006
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?Luminous fragments of the avant-garde? Times Literary Supplement ?Just one tip: Don't read this book if you're normal - you won't like it. Honestly. If you drive a Volvo, watch Eastenders, listen to Jamie Cullum or shop at Debenhams, you'll be baffled by this book. You stick to John Grisham; you'll be safe with him? Amazon.co.uk customer review ?A puzzlingly beautiful monument to a minor master? Booklist ?With remarkable precision and fluid language, the stories capture everyday tension in a land where an innocent knock on the door might mean entrapment in a bureaucratic maze or even death at the hands of the military? New York Times Book Review ?Brilliant, paranoid parables of the Stalin regime? Guardian ?Very short, often hilariously funny but dark and seemingly illogical stories? Very little of his work ever made it into print; the fact that enough of it survived either by word of mouth or in carefully guarded manuscripts makes this wonderful collection something of a miracle? Think of Beckett, only with sharper humour? Or, the best of Kafka distilled into the smallest possible space? Independent ?Kharms? prose miniatures are of the highest quality and offer despairing commentary on Soviet life? Scotland on Sunday ?A Shape-shifting collection of stories and fragments? Kharms? dislocated hallucinatory vision of a St Petersburg where the fantastical sits side by side with the mudane is an evocative response to a totalitarian state, yet it also recalls Gogol?s equally contorted, agonised view of his native city ? and, like the latter, is steeped in a rich, uncanny humour? Metro ?The only way to survive in this world is to laugh. The worse it gets, the more you laugh. Kharms is the master of dark laughter, of the laughter of relief as you realise the events he describes can?t possibly be true? a celebration of meaninglessness? Marina Lewycka, Daily Telegraph
About the Author
Daniil Kharms was born in 1906. His name, a pseudonym, reflects his love for Sherlock Holmes. Kharms was arrested in 1931 for 'deflecting the people from the building of socialism by means of "trans-verse" verses' and told that he could only publish writing for children. By the end of the decade, even his writing for children was considered unfit for publication and in 1941 Kharms was re-arrested and sent to the gulag. He died of starvation in a prison hospital in 1942.
Top Customer Reviews
Kharms ought, however, to be read with a degree of knowledge of his life, for knowledge of the Stalinist Russia in which he lived (and died) lends an even eerier quality to the work; indeed, my only qualm with this volume is that there isn't a more of a biographical introduction. Neil Cornwell's end essay would have been more happily placed at the beginning of the book, and Simon McBurney (presumably of the Theatre de Complicite) writes more about Simon McBurney than he does about Daniil Kharms in his introduction in a style in which he tries - too hard, I think - to imitate the pithy, gnomic style of the author but doesn't quite make it. One rather gets the feeling that this introduction to the new edition has been hastily tacked on anyway. (The proofreader, too, failed to notice that the author's name was misspelled "Danill" on the head of each page of the intro - not a good start, that.) However, it's fantastic that the book should be reprinted at all so it isn't really fair to quibble about such things.
Still one of the freshest, most inspirational pieces of writing around. If you enjoy Monty Python and that irreverent brand of surrealist humour, Kharms has no equal. Enjoy!
Just one tip: Don't read this book if you're normal - you won't like it. Honestly. If you drive a Volvo, watch Eastenders, listen to Jamie Cullum or shop at Debenhams, you'll be baffled by this book. You stick to John Grisham; you'll be safe with him.