ДжанDzhan PDF/EPUB µ Paperback

  • Paperback
  • 335 pages
  • ДжанDzhan
  • Andrei Platonov
  • English
  • 14 March 2016
  • 9781590172544

10 thoughts on “ДжанDzhan

  1. says:

    The heating has never worked in my apartment I’ve flipped switches I’ve read manuals I’ve turned dials I’ve struck out petulantly at inanimate objectsnothing Have you ever experienced the callous winters of northern England? Occasionally I’ll sit on the sofa in the living room attempting to behave like a civilised human being And I’ll fantasise about chipping the frozen skin off my face like restructuring an ice sculpture I never do it of course because my fingers are so cold I can’t move them So most of the time I hide away in my bedroom I’ll wrap a thick uilt around myself smoke warm cigarettes and survive in relative comfort However a few days ago I became ill I have a good immune system but it failed me this time Something got in and it hated me It started in the evening when I realised I could stand but I couldn’t walk No big loss I thought But then thin water started to pour ceaselessly from my eyes and my nose And I shook rattling my teeth like a tin can full of coinsThe following day I found it difficult to remain conscious I’d open my eyes and immediately they’d start to close again despite my will In the one or two periods when I was awake I found that people were attempting to communicate with me My phone lit up My brother entered my room I watched it all impassively Nothing mattered to me – not food not human beings – except heat I glared at the radiator It ignored me In the midst of the demoralising cold and the illness my consciousness had been reduced to some kind of Neanderthal state whereby I was only dimly aware of myself as myself I was no longer complex I was basic I was mentally rubbing two sticks together The cat must have sensed something He would prowl around the bed making horrible mewling sounds before jumping on my chest and laying down I was sure he was going to eat me or suck what little life I had left out of me If I shooed him off he would skulk away only to return mere moments later in the hope that I was now too weak to resistBy the third day I had started to come back to myself The most compelling sign of recovery is that I picked up a book from the bedside table It was Soul by Andrey Platonov I usually choose meticulously but this choice was about what was closest to hand In any case as I read a strange thing happened I started to enjoy myself Joy had crept back into my heart like a teenager stealing home long after curfew It was only with strength or health that I could experience joy or interest in anything outside of warmth I did not forget about the cold completely but it stepped off and hid away at the back of my mind as I focussed on Nazar Chagataev and the trials of the Dzhan nation somewhere in the Asian desert Indeed the further I penetrated into the story the I realised that while I had been laying in bed ignorant of the world a novel had laid beside me so to speak that was itself about overcoming suffering albeit a much greater suffering than mine of course and embracing life And being happy again I could smile at one of the little miracles of coincidence that life throws up every now and again“Everything in the existing world seemed strange to him; it was as if the world had been created for some brief mocking game But this game of make believe had dragged on for a long timefor eternity and nobody felt like laughing any”The novel begins in Russia with Chagataev attending a party having finished his studies at the local university The tone is melancholic with the emphasis being on leaving familiar things behind Nazar is a melancholy sort himself; he is we’re told a young man with ‘pure eyes’ which communicate a kind of ‘gloomy kindness’ This kindness this sensitivity leads him to approaching and attempting to comfort a middle aged woman called Vera whom no one else is paying attention to One sees in this one of the defining aspects of his character and one of the novel’s major themes which is an interest in ‘unneeded’ or neglected things For example as a child Chagataev’s mother left him to fend for himself which led to him being given refuge in Russia; Vera also has a daughter Ksenya whose father has taken off; and once Chagataev returns to his home land in the desert he comes across all manner of abandoned things including a camel flocks of sheep and the Dzhan people of courseIt is Chagataev’s aim to ‘build happiness’ to as noted in my melodramatic introduction make the nomadic Dzhan tribe to which he belongs embrace life The only problem with this is that they are I would say the most wretched group of people I have ever encountered in a novel And I’ve read almost the entirety of Samuel Beckett’s oeuvre Drawn from runaways exhausted slaves and orphans; fed and given employment for only a few weeks of the year; and for the most part left to wander in extreme poverty I say wander but most are too sick to move They are thoroughly destitute having nothing not even madness because madness reuires energy as does happiness At one point Chagataev comes across his worn out mother who is doubled up her face almost to the ground She doesn’t recognise her son and doesn’t experience love or relief or even shock or surprise when he introduces himself She like the rest of the Dzhan has entered a state of being that is almost animalistic Just like me hibernating in my fever they have no internal life They exist and that is it; they to paraphrase Platonov are not living they just haven’t died yetThe word Dzhan means we're told soul or dear life As with many Russian novels the state and importance of the human soul and what indeed constitutes the soul plays a central role in Platonov's work Chagataev is eager for his people to accept life to begin to live a meaningful existence and he is dismayed that the Dzhan can't or won't do this Indeed he all but charges them with laziness Sorrow is easy he thinks But he comes to realise that the body needs nourishment so that the soul can function and happiness blossom The middle section of the book is therefore given over to his attempts to feed the tribe resulting in one of the most extraordinary passages in literature where he lays on the ground encouraging vicious birds to peck at and try and kill him so that he can shoot them for food Once nourished however the Dhzan scatter Renewed strength and vitality has given them optimism hopes and dreams and desires but these dreams etc do not fit in with Chagataev’s vision for the people They have embraced life certainly but they have done so in a kind of selfish in some ways hedonistic mannerYet eventually the tribe return and it is here that I think the reader comes to understand what Platonov or Chagataev at least means by soul There is a lot of stuff in the novel about displacement and exile – most notably the central character being forced to leave his home country – which all of course fits in with the aforementioned abandonment theme but which also suggests the importance of human interaction family and community Chagataev enjoyed the benefits of community in Russia he was allowed to live and study and work; alone in the desert these things would have been impossible Moreover one sees in his desire to marry Vera who is pregnant with another man’s child when he meets her how much significance he places upon building relationships looking out for each other working together making sacrifices for each other and so on This is then a healthy soul one that looks outside of itself one that wants to live and engage and work with other people This is happinessa if you will communistic happiness One could in fact see Soul as a kind of parable about right and wrong healthy and unhealthy ways of living whereby the suffering that Platonov is referring to isn’t literal or physical but so to speak spiritual Indeed the novel ends Chagataev knew that help could come to him only from another human beingYou will I’m sure have paid special attention to a particular word in the preceding paragraph A dirty word Communism I’m always surprised when Platonov’s work is called pro Stalin If you have read The Foundation Pit which is concerned with collectivisation and the starvation of the Russian peasantry you will understand how ridiculous that claim is But that is not to say that the author wasn’t pro Communism The two – Stalinism and Communism – are not the same thing I may be wrong but Soul did strike me as advocating Communistic principles ie the sharing of labour the ownership of one’s own labour the importance of the community over the individual etc Yet what is uite clear is that Platonov did not advocate brutality or dictatorship Indeed there is a tyrant in the novel the Khan of Khiva who the Dzhan rise up against and who struck me as perhaps a stand in for Stalin Moreover Stalin once said that death is the solution to all problems and I don’t think it is a coincidence that the most villainous character in the novel Nur Mohammed appears to live by that principle gleefully counting off the Dzhan as they die hoping for their death because it would mean for him So yes Joseph Stalin is freuently referred to by name in Soul and is described as a loving father as the father of all abandoned people but I would suggest that there is than a hint of irony about all that especially when you consider that the Russian leader had such a low opinion of Platonov Scum is what he called him

  2. says:

    Introduction Notes by Robert Chandler Soul The Third Son Among Animals and Plants Fro The River Potudan The Cow The Motherland of Electricity The Return Afterword by John BergerNotesA Note on the Peasant HutAcknowledgmentsTranslators

  3. says:

    What a fantastic and totally uniue writer Platonov is The majority of his works were not published during his lifetime He was totally forgotten in Russia until the late 80s of the last century And I am so happy that he was rediscovered since then I am reading Chevengur So I will leave some of my thoughts until I finish that book Here I just briefly comment on the two stories in this collectionДжан Dzjan is translated here like Soul It is almost biblical story of a young man returning to his people a small group called Jan travelling somewhere in the steppes of Central Asia The man has left them as a child and now he is coming back eager to improve their life The story is a journey of the people and him he is not necessarily leading in fact he often follows them through the steppes and desert in order to survive and to re learn what means to be human after an eternity of incredible deprivation It is written in a dreamy almost hallucinatory way It is strikingly beautiful and shockingly realistic at the same time It reminded me a modern novel The Story of a Brief Marriage but with the hopeful message overall It took me a while to realise another association it has awoken This novella foreshadows some aspects of Pedro Páramo and respectively all what follows I am sure Juan Rulfo never heard of Andrei Platonov His story is written almost 30 years after the Platonov's and takes place on another continent But there is this very powerful connection through the people who are not alive in the proper sense of the word In Rulfo's case they are alive after their death; in Platonov's case they are dead while still being aliveAnd the Return a devastating and poignant short story the reality of coming back from war and realising that nothing will be the same as it was

  4. says:

    Soul was one of the most interesting and strange allegories about the Stalinist era I have encountered Desolate and desperate but hopeful nonetheless full of imagery vaguely reminiscent of Goya's disturbing paintings The Return was as gorgeous a story as I have read from twentieth century Russia The other stories are also worth your time but these two are certainly the anchors of this collection

  5. says:

    I have read thousands of books mostly Russian Platonov is in the top 5 Anyone who says he is pro Soviet Stalin must be shot they are too idiotic to understand dark sarcasm Irony A man who had his 15 yr old son die from TBand he in turn would contract it from his son dying from it later he contracted in a gulag did not love Stalin A man who could not publish his work while Stalin was alive did not love Stalin Are readers even educated any? Are they so uneducated from their hald educated Tea Party duraki that they cannot notice irony sarcasm very dark humor when they come across it? Yes apparently so The stories in this small collection are written by a man who saw his generation not self destruct by be destroyed by the ideals he once had by a system he once supported Once Many authors were shot or worked to death in gulagsPlatonov himself died in a closet Yet for all this his stories have a purity unmatched in any other writer I have read in any language There is something alien and jarring My favorite story is River Potudan The story of a man returning from WW2 is not unusual in Russia millions did They came back to villages that were empty of men The small towns often had women running the show A young man returns to look for his love a girl who once played piano and lived perhaps slightly better than others they had a composure a gentility that made them stick out from others He comes back to find them thin and wrecked the war has destroyed them poverty has pummeled them How Platonov describes the young man the village the mindsetsnature can only be called strange very strange I see how some would throw it away Russians tell me Platonov really is the hardest author to translate Even in Russian he startles with his style His is the prose of an angel who has come to the world in its whirlwind of violence and sadnesses we cannot comprehend He keeps his composure but barely One gets the sense that his lower lip is trembling At the same time he describes commonplace emotions and scenes as if they had never been described before Language was invented by him he seems to be telling us The world has never been described until nowThe stories are sad beautiful dark A pearl necklace with blood on it in the hand of a poor child Or something like that

  6. says:

    Fuckin great for the most part but one or two of the stories kind of fuckin suck

  7. says:

    Reading the Russian Masters really makes you rethink the merits of all the pampered MFA candidates puking out lit fiction lately in the States Platonov's life is as fascinating as any of his stories he struggled to publish he was usually desperately broke and in need of medicines for various family members His son was sent to the Gulag at age 15 and dead not long thereafter Platonov himself was dead at 52 of the same TB that had killed his son But it is the stories that count the most this book is worth it just for The Return which is as masterful as anything ever writtenEverything included here is from 1935 onward which means the earlier stories need to be read elsewhere But these are 8 great stories and the foreward and notes help to put everything in context Essential reading even if you know nothing about Stalinist Soviet era life Because Platonov's writing is universal Afterall who doesn't think about throwing themselves into the river as soon as spring thaw arrives?

  8. says:

    I have my own bookshelf and the top shelf is designated for 5 star books This is placed on there This book is so awesome you can read it in one day You'll forget to eat Soul captures the human persona throughout a journey I recommend it to all who are in desperate need of a five star book foreign literature and just mind blowing prose

  9. says:

    I've been trying to read Platonov for years but I never got him It was even worse when people asked me to evaluate translations of him because I had no idea what made him so special in Russian All I knew was that he was odd But not appealingOn the urging of an editor I respect highly who had read this book in college and been enchanted by it I just read Soul the title novella of this volume translated by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler Without his encouragement I might not have lasted as long as I did but eventually yes I was hooked Despite the plot a Central Asian Young Communist this is under Stalin who has made it in Moscow returns to Central Asia to bring his tiny nation a bright new Communist future Just makes you want to run out and read it right?Despite the rhetoric which is intrinsic to the plot of course and which Platonov plays with this is a mesmerizing tale of living on the edge of death in the desert This place is so dry that animals dig down for wet earth to chew to extract the moisture A lost flock of sheep follows humans in hopes of water andor sustenance The book is full of people places and situations you have never ever thought ofI have no idea whether the translation is good but the book cast a spell on me for sure

  10. says:

    I have been enormously privileged to discover a host of writers new to me in the past few years who have reinvigorated my love of literature Of all these writers the best has been Andrei PlatonovI can hardly express how wonderful I found this book of stories to be Platonov was a real revelation to me The opening story in this volume 'Soul' which is actually a novella or short novel is one of the finest pieces of literature I have ever read It affected me deeply I found it to be magical strange tragic hopeful spiritual and adventurous; and the prose in which these ualities are encapsulated and developed is poetic vivid and remarkableThe other stories in this book were almost as good Platonov has become one of my favourite writers and I am now seeking out as much of his work as I can find

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ДжанDzhan A New York Review Books OriginalThe Soviet writer Andrey Platonov saw much of his work suppressed or censored in his lifetime In recent decades however these lost works have reemerged and the eerie poetry and poignant humanity of Platonov’s vision have become ever clear For Nadezhda Mandelstam and Joseph Brodsky Platonov was the writer who most profoundly registered the spiritual shock of revolution For a new generation of innovative post Soviet Russian writers he figures as a daring explorer of word and world the master of what has been called “alternative realism” Depicting a devastated world that is both terrifying and sublime Platonov is without doubt a universal writer who is as solitary and haunting as KafkaThis volume gathers eight works that show Platonov at his tenderest warmest and subtlest Among them are “The Return” about an officer’s difficult homecoming at the end of World War II described by Penelope Fitzgerald as one of “three great works of Russian literature of the millennium”; “The River Potudan” a moving account of a troubled marriage; and the title novella the extraordinary tale of a young man unexpectedly transformed by his return to his Asian birthplace where he finds his people deprived not only of food and dwelling but of memory and speechThis prizewinning English translation is the first to be based on the newly available uncensored texts of Platonov’s short fiction