18 October 2008

The Railway

This book is by Hamid Ismailov. It's set in Uzbekistan during most of the Soviet years. I didn't love it. In fact, there were parts I didn't much enjoy at all. I liked the first half quite a bit though, and tolerated the second half.

The translation is excellent. Robert Chandler has a nice intro talking about his translation, some of the difficulties, and his philosophy of translation (his discussion of profanity was interesting; English is lacking in obscenities, and that's always so obvious when you read something in translation). Chandler refers to it as a witty book, and that is true- "profoundly dark and absurdly comical."

I've been trying to track this book down for a very long time now, and I finally ordered it from the UK (although Amazon appears to have it now). It's not been widely available in the US, nor do I think it would be very popular in the US on almost any level. I'd recommend it to Central Asia aficionados, or to those interested in Soviet literature (Ismailov refers to it as a Soviet book at one point, and I completely agree; it's not necessarily an Uzbek book), or to those interested in something different from another culture.

1 comment:

  1. I think it is very poor and it does not deliver it's promise of a cultural adventure.

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