TRANSLATED AND WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ROBERT CHANDLER
Moscow in the 1930s is a symbol of Soviet paradise; a fairy-tale capital where, in Stalin's words, 'life has become better, life has become merrier". Beautiful, passionate, Moscow Chestnova bears her captial's name, and seeks the happiness it promises. She flits from man to man, fascinated by the brave new world supposedly taking shape around her, on a quest for the better life.
This anarchic satire is accompanied by related works - short stories, an essay and a screenplay - and through Robert Chandler's acclaimed new translations Platonov's extraordinary prose and original vision can at last be experienced in full.
Written in the 1930s (but never completed) and finally published in Russian in 1991 40 years after Platonov's death this fresco of 1930s Moscow revolves around the eponymously named Moscow Chestnova, whose enthusiasm for the Communist cause wanes with her fall from rising aeronautical star to bitter amputee. Like the revolution, the once optimistic Moscow loses her zeal and descends into cynicism. Men continue to dote on her, but she remains a cypher, a symbol of accelerated decrepitude. Platonov's dense, allegorical style is well suited to the frenzy of the early years of the socialist experiment, portrayed here by ebullient descriptions of the work-filled lives of Muscovites and scenes of desolation and tedium amid a whirl of secondary characters striving vainly after utopian ideals. Two short stories, an essay, and a play follow this gritty, dystopian novel, pursuing some of Platonov's (The Foundation Pit) themes, namely that "history as a universal tragedy began along with mankind, but it is technology that serves as its final act."