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Book review and technical detail THE MONKEY LINK ~ Andrei Bitov

Technical detail of THE MONKEY LINK ~
author Andrei Bitov
ISBN 117181
Language English
Category Fiction & Literature
Publisher Farrar Straus & Giroux (T)
Pages 373
Publishing Date 1st January, 1970

Book Reviews:

 A brilliant, abundantly allusive atypical from the acclaimed Russian biographer (Pushkin House, 1987, etc.), chronicling a chase for the body of a man and his country. Written over the aftermost decade and catastrophe with the 1991 coup, the three tales that comprise this atypical present three way stations on the narrator's crusade and reflect the astronomic political changes demography abode in Russia. A alternation of encounters in settings abundant with airy and actual associations accredit the advocate to analyze humanity's purpose, its accord with God and added animals, and the ethical accompaniment of Russia. The adventure begins, in ``Birds or the Catechesis of Man,'' at Russia's best western point, a discharge of acreage that juts into the Baltic Sea, with the narrator adopting queries about the ambiance and the role of diminutive ability with a scientist alive at a adjacent analysis base area birds are studied. In ``Man in a Landscape,'' set about alfresco Moscow, he debates with a painter who asserts that ``the apple was absolutely accessible aback man appeared in it. Man created nothing...didn't actualize art, either.'' On the shores of the Black Sea, in ``Awaiting Monkeys,'' he meets up afresh with the scientist and the painter, works as a arcane critic, acts in a movie, and then, affective aback and alternating amid Moscow and the Black Sea bank during the Gorbachev years, on the day of the accomplishment adventures a abating epiphany: an army of angels in the air who ``smelled of the blaze of their active battle'' for Russia. The appellation refers to an agreement in ``keeping monkeys in antagonistic acute zones beneath about adapted accustomed conditions. In added words, free.'' As the narrator ironically observes, ``the monkey is chargeless in Russia, beneath socialism! We're not chargeless but the monkey is.'' A quintessentially Russian pilgrim's progress, alloyed with angry bookish energy, afire irony, and an afflicted adulation for a ability country and its people.

Updike called Bitov's last book, Pushkin House, "a brilliant, restless, impudent novel." This one begins with a warning from the author that reads "Nothing in this book is fictitious except the author," and what unfolds from here is a sort of comedy of ideas about a poet who traverses Russia from the Baltics to the capitol, to the shores of the Black Sea. Bitov wrote these three tales between 1971 and 1993 while the Soviet Union moved from peace to collapse, and they reflect this transformation. The first was published in '76, the second did not appear-- and the third could never have been written-- until after glasnost.

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