FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
The Railway has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Good | Details
Sold by FT Books
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: We are certain you will be delighted with our high level of customer service. all our books are in 'Good' or better condition and we ship daily from our UK warehouse.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Railway Paperback – 5 Jul 2007

3.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£8.99
£3.34 £2.07
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more
£8.99 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions


Frequently Bought Together

  • The Railway
  • +
  • The Dead Lake
  • +
  • The Underground
Total price: £31.37
Buy the selected items together

Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (5 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099466139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099466130
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 256,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A wonderfully engaging novel" (Melissa McClements Financial Times)

"Imagine Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude on the empty plains of central Asia...The Railway is a bold and inventive, if damning, whirl through Central Asia's 20th-century history" (Charlotte Hobson Daily Telegraph)

"It is a work of rare beauty - an utterly readable, compelling book" (Craig Murray New Statesman)

"A poet's novel, full of memorable descriptive passages and heart-wrenching asides" (Independent)

"All picaresque exuberance, a jumble of influences from Persian to Soviet and beyond" (Catherine Lockerbie Sunday Herald)

Book Description

A vibrant, multi-cultural and surreal satire set in Uzbekistan in the mid-twentieth century.

See all Product Description

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ismailov's `The Railway' is a brilliant example of what reading world literature is all about for me. I barely knew where Uzbekistan was, never mind anything about its history and culture. Ismailov's book brought a whole century of the country's history to life in a way that was at times hilarious, thought provoking and tragic, and left me with a definite feeling of what Uzbekistan had gone through in the twentieth century.

`The Railway' is a sort of picaresque novel, following the adventures of many of the inhabitants of a fictional town (Gilas). The book is populated with a vast array of characters, and begins with the first Russian revolution (1905) and ends in the late 1980s, when Ismailov began writing. It chronicles the absurdity of a town on the periphery of the Soviet Union, swept up by the communist revolution but strangely immune to the worst excesses of Stalinism because of its distance from (and irrelevance to) Moscow. Gilas (and Uzbekistan) is at the crossroads of many races and nations, featuring Uzbeks, Sarts, Uighirs, Russians, Koreans, German exiles, Muslim, Christian and Atheist. The stories of most of the individuals are comic, albeit with rather dark humour on occasion. There is the man who circumcises himself with his own pistol while trying to blow his sleeping son's head off, or the man who has been drinking locomotive brake fluid for years thinking that it was vodka due to a miscommunication with a train driver. Ismailov tries to cram in as many Uzbek types as possible, to give as complete a picture of the twentieth century of this nation as he was able. However, the book is not entirely picaresque, because all of the stories lead to the life of `the boy', an unnamed character born in modern Gilas.
Read more ›
Comment 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Ismailov's The Railway is a collection of short stories set around the inhabitants (and their descendants) of the fictionalised town of Gilas over the course of the 20th Century. Each piece tells the tale of a particular character/event, but not necessarily in chronological order and not without a certain overlap and retelling or undermining of earlier stories.

The stories themselves are full of Soviet black humour, of well-meant corruption, ineptitude and misplaced dilligence: of sign-writers for a town of illiterates; of simpletons promoted to positions of responsibility; of bribe-taking as a day-to-day event; of loud-speakers announcing news incorrectly to the town; of accidental Bolshevik heroes and equally accidental enemies of the Motherland. However, alongside all this somewhat familiar almost Russian Soviet-ness comes much of the more exotic nature of Uzbekistan: the various nationalities exiled there (Tatars, Koreans, Siberian peoples, Gypsies, Volga Germans to name but a few); the Uighars who build graves for their dead with ladders reaching to heaven (thus making them an inappropriate labour force for the construction of the railway - a horizontal ladder); the Muslim rites hidden and adapted in a Communist land; the bizarre popularity of Bollywood films, the heat and harshness of the desert; great travelling shepherds, crossing thousands of miles with their flocks, etc.

The stories all hang more or less on the railway of the book's title and the railway imagery in episodic, stop-start nature of the stories remains throughout the book. Chandler's translation also takes great care to keep up aliteration and rhyming rhythm to support this theme.
Read more ›
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
The other two reviewers have summed up the structure of the book and the contents very well. However, my Book Club has just read this, and I was the only person who really liked it. So this is not a book to everyone's taste. Firstly, the cast is huge - over 100 characters - and not all of them spring to life as they should. Second, although there is a timeline through the book, the absence of plot proved a hurdle. The episodes with the Boy occur only occasionally, and they are, with the exception of the last, the description of his circumcision, short. Not much of a thread.

I found this disconcerting for the first 50 pages, and then I relaxed into it, decided to take each episode as it came, as a folk tale, and in my mind's eye I saw it as a vast quilt, a bit like the AIDS quilt, where each panel had its own composition and meaning. In this frame of mind, it became an object of beauty. It needs to be said that this is a VERY funny book in parts, particularly when people do something stupid for the best of motives. Like, when a famous singer is visiting, the town decides to acquire a piano for him. And because it's an old piano, they have to paint it up nice and new, in white car paint, including the black keys. The best of the characters are lustily comic, almost Dickensian: such as Mefody-Jurisprudence, who learnt all the Soviet Penal Code - including commentaries - by heart while in a Gulag, but now can only remember it after three bottles of vodka. He has a friend who after an argument always pees on his bald head - and, wonder of wonders, all that potassium makes his hair grow again. It's also a very violent and painful book. People are exiled at whim, there is a large amount of mutilation and rape, especially rape of young people.
Read more ›
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Look for similar items by category


Feedback