Readathon · stuff I read

Death and the Penguin

Viktor has a rather odd job – he writes “living obituaries”.  That is, he interviews famous people then files the obituary to wait until the subject dies.  Viktor also has a rather odd pet.  He rescued a penguin from the Kiev Zoo.  He gets mixed up in the Russian mafia who take a supremely weird fancy to having the penguin attend their funerals.  He winds up minding the young daughter of a shady acquaintence.  Then his “living obituary” subjects begin dying at an alarming rate….

Death and the Penguin is a darkly comic novel.  Not funny ha-ha but funny in the way that Mikhail Bulgakov is funny.  For instance, Viktor’s penguin is named Misha.  But then Viktor meets his shady acquaintence – also named Misha.  So ensues a section of the book where Misha-not-penguin is referred to.  The ending is also a surprise.

I’m not sure when I’ll get to the next book – Penguin Lost – or any other Kurkov novels but I’m not averse.

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