qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

No-one but a fool ...

Book Review: Incidences, by Daniil Kharms
This was a rather unusual collection of (very) short stories, mostly written in the late 1930s in the USSR. Kharms was part of an absurdist group and unsurprisingly, came to the attention of the authorities who - determining to prove that truth can be stranger than fiction - deemed that his writing was unsuitable for the Soviet audience, and that he should only be allowed to write stories for children. (This itself almost sounds like it should be the plot-line of a story, probably by Frances Hardinge). Nevertheless, his unpublished writings were preserved (after his death in a prison hospital in 1940s Leningrad) by friends and were eventually published only in the era of glasnost.

Certainly, they are a breath of fresh air, requiring as they do a setting-aside of normality. Some of the stories present a more-or-less overt discussion of daily life at the time, such as the exaggeration of What They Sell In The Shops These Days; and there's an awful lot of violence and sudden death, explained away or simply taken as unquestioned fact. No doubt those with more in-depth knowledge of the times can find further references within the stories.
Tags: books
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