A satirical epic of the Soviet soul by the bestselling author of DEATH AND THE PENGUIN.
CATCH-22 meets THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV in the last great satire of the Soviet Era.
The Great Patriotic War is stumbling to a close, but a new darkness has fallen over Soviet Russia. And for a disparate, disconnected clutch of wanderers - many thousands of miles apart but linked by a common goal - four parallel journeys are just beginning.
Gorych and his driver, rolling through water, sand and snow on an empty petrol tank; the occupant of a black airship, looking down benevolently as he floats above his Fatherland; young Andrey, who leaves his religious community in search of a new life; and Kharitonov, who trudges from the Sea of Japan to Leningrad, carrying a fuse that, when lit, could blow all and sundry to smithereens.
Written in the final years of Communism, THE BICKFORD FUSE is a satirical epic of the Soviet soul, exploring the origins and dead-ends of the Russian mentality from the end of World War Two to the Union's collapse. Blending allegory and fable with real events, and as deliriously absurd as anything Kurkov has written, it is both an elegy for lost years and a song of hope for a future not yet set in stone.
Translated from the Russian by Boris Dralyuk
Kurkov's style is spare and effective, drawing us with deceptive ease into a dense, complex world full of wonderful characters. - Michael Palin
Kurkov is the real thing . . . Comparisons with Bulgakov's zany Moscow are not far-fetched. - Guardian.
His bestselling novels are known for their surreal touches, but Andrey Kurkov, the Ukrainian novelist hailed as a post-Soviet Kafka, also has an uncanny ability to predict events in the real world around him. - Daily Telegraph.
Beguiling ... frequently funny ... completely its own thing. it may even be a little bit of a masterpiece - Financial Times
A kind of Ukrainian Kurt Vonnegut . . . If you want to read about the Soviet Union but can't face reading, say, Robert Service, and you have a penchant for the strange and surreal, you could do worse than reading Kurkov. - Spectator.
Born near Leningrad in 1961, ANDREY KURKOV was a journalist, prison warder, cameraman and screenplay-writer before he became well known as a novelist. He received "hundreds of rejections" and was a pioneer of self-publishing, selling more than 75,000 copies of his books in a single year. His novel Death and the Penguin, his first in English translation, became an international bestseller, translated into more than thirty languages. As well as writing fiction for adults and children, he has become known as a commentator and journalist on Ukraine for the international media. His work of reportage, Ukraine Diaries: Dispatches from Kiev, was published in 2014, followed by the novel The Bickford Fuse (MacLehose Press, 2016). He lives in Kiev with his British wife and their three children.