An unsuccessful writer and an inveterate alcoholic, Boris Alikhanov is running out of money and has recently divorced from his wife Tatyana, who intends to emigrate to the West with their daughter Masha. The prospect of a summer job as a tourist guide at the Pushkin Hills preserve offers him hope of bringing back some balance into his existence, but during his stay in the rural estate of Mikhaylovskoye, Alikhanov?s life continues to unravel. Populated with unforgettable characters, such as Alikhanov?s fellow guides Mitrofanov and Pototsky and the KGB officer Belyaev, and presented here for the first time in the English language, Pushkin Hills is arguably Dovlatov?s most personal work and a poignant portrayal of the Russian attitude towards life and art.
Several years after emigrating from the USSR, the author discovers the battered suitcase he had brought with him gathering dust at the back of a wardrobe. As he opens the suitcase, the items he finds inside take on a riotously funny life of their own as Dovlatov inventories the circumstances under which he acquired them. A poplin shirt evokes a story of courtship and marriage, a pair of boots calls up the hilarious conclusion to an official banquet, two pea-green cr?pe socks bring back memories of his attempt to become a black-market racketeer, while a double-breasted suit reminds him of when he was approached by the KGB to spy on a Swedish writer. Imbued with a comic nostalgia and overlaid with Dovlatov?s characteristically dark-edged humour and wry power of observation, The Suitcase is a profoundly human, delightfully ironic novel from one of the finest satirists of the twentieth century.
Based on Dovlatov?s actual experience of being a prison guard in Soviet Russia in the 1960s, and full of comic and humane detail, The Zone depicts the absurd day-to-day life of a camp in an insightful and unusual way, challenging commonly held perceptions of the relations between incarcerators and the incarcerated. A priceless chronicle of its time which highlights universal themes, Dovlatov?s genre-defying novel also provides moments of high entertainment and humour, rendered in his characteristically sharp, concise and sardonic style.