Adventures of a True Believer

Gary Shteyngart reviews Monumental Propaganda by Vladimir Voinovich, translated from the Russian by Andrew Bromfield, in the New Tork Review of Books:

If Russia weren’t governed by fools and reprobates, if the roads were smooth and wide and free of bandits, if Russia were suddenly a modern European country as far removed from Stalin’s legacy as today’s Germany is from Hitler’s, three groups of citizens would suffer the most: corrupt traffic cops, oligarchs, and satirists. Of this last group, Vladimir Voinovich is possibly the most important Russian satirical writer of the last fifty years, and given the absurdity and repressiveness that characterized those fifty years, one of the most subversive writers in the nation’s history. If all Russian writers (as Dostoevsky said) are supposed to come “from under Gogol’s ‘Overcoat,'” Voinovich has come directly out of Gogol’s “Nose.”

More here.