Faithful Ruslan (Neversink)
Unavailable for twenty years, this harrowing allegory of obedience to authority is esteemed as “one of the defining literary texts of the post-Stalin period.” (The Guardian)Set in a remote Siberian depot immediately following the demolition of one of the gulag’s notorious camps and the... show more
Unavailable for twenty years, this harrowing allegory of obedience to authority is esteemed as “one of the defining literary texts of the post-Stalin period.” (The Guardian)Set in a remote Siberian depot immediately following the demolition of one of the gulag’s notorious camps and the emancipation of its prisoners, Faithful Ruslan is an embittered cri de coeur from a writer whose circumstances obliged him to resist the violence of arbitrary power. “Every writer who writes anything in this country is made to feel he has committed a crime,” Georgi Vladimov said. Dissident, he said, is a word that “they force on you.” His mother, a victim of Stalin’s anti-Semitic policy, had been interred for two years in one of the camps from which Vladimov derived the wrenching detail of Faithful Ruslan. The novel circulated in samizdat for more than a decade, often attributed to Solzhenitsyn, before its publication in the West led to Vladimov’s harassment and exile. A starving stray, tortured and abandoned by the godlike “Master” whom he has unconditionally loved, Ruslan and his cadre of fellow guard dogs dutifully wait for the arrival of new prisoners—but the unexpected arrival of a work party provokes a climactic bloodletting. Fashioned from the perceptions of an uncomprehending animal, Vladimov’s insistently ironic indictment of the gulag spirals to encompass all of Man’s inexplicable cruelty.
Publish date: 2011-09-27
Publisher: Melville House
Pages no: 224
Edition language: English
, Historical Fiction
, Literary Fiction
, Russian Literature
[T]he son and grandson of sheepdogs whom fate had chosen for the role of herding two-legged sheep.p. 149Faithful Ruslan is a strange book, but one that's ultimately straightforward, as it must be. For years, the book swirled around underground circles in Russia, and got published in Russian-language...
Recommended this by Bettie who knows I love Russian literature - of any kind. I found this book harrowing, sad but often inconsistent - does the dog understand human behaviour or not? However, the allegory of how totalitarian systems corrupt is cleverly done and overrode the reservations I had. I al...
Boton book festival find. When I was considering buying this book, the bookseller assured me I could handle it. he said that he didn't care what happens to people in books he reads, but when animals are involved he has a hard time with them suffering. Well, I don't think he was being completely hone...