I must admit that I don’t even know how to start to describe this book. It awakened in me feelings that I haven’t felt for a long, long time, so I want to apology since the beginning because I don’t know if this article will be coherent.
Being born in a country with high Soviet Union influences, all my childhood I heard stories about the way communists destroyed our culture, so when I first heard about the classic Russian literature, I was somehow skeptic. But let me tell you something: I haven’t read anything like the Russian classics until I started reading them and since then. Maybe the Russians held back the East of Europe with 20 something years, maybe they still do shity things, but they definitely know how to write.
I’ve heard about E.G.Vodolazkin’s “The Aviator” book from a Facebook friend, and I bought it right away. In Romania is published by Humanitas. However, because I love so much Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, I was afraid that I would be disappointed, so it took me two months to actually have the courage to read it.
The main character, Innokenti Platonov, is a Russian who was accused of a murder he didn’t commit and sent to a Soviet camp after the World War I. In there he is selected for an experiment, and he is cryogenized among other prisoners. He is the only successful subject, and he awakens in our contemporary time.
The book is written in the same manner I remembered all the Russian classics wrote their masterpieces: all the characters are called by different names, depending who is talking about them, the narrative is passing from an idea to another without a previous connection between them, and the action is described in dark and mellow colors.
The novel is written as a journal and has two parts. The first one is only Innokenti’s diary, and the second it contains the daily life written from the main character’s point of view, but also from two other ones: his doctor and a female persona. What I loved about this way of writing was that I felt like reading a book written by two distinct authors. The first part is, I stated before, written using old ways of Russian methods and the second one is more modern and gives a fresh feeling. I really felt that Innokenti is the representative of the old Russia and the other two characters of the new one.
The end of the book is absolutely incredible. In the last pages, because it doesn’t specify anymore who is speaking it gives you the sensation of the old blending with the new. And the way the author chose to finish his story…I can only tell you this: I can’t imagine a better idea of ending a such a great tale.
I want to apologize again if this article is a mess, but it was so hard to summarize in just a few paragraph what impact had this novel on me. Because of this, the Reading Badger’s recommendation is: find the book and read it!