The Slynx by Tatyana Tolstaya
A Novel

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In what remains of Moscow some two hundred years after the “Blast,” a community persists in primitive, ridiculous, and often brutal circumstances. Mice are the current source of food, clothes, and commerce, as well as a source of humor for Tatyana Tolstaya. Owning books in this society is prohibited by the tyrant, who plagiarizes the old masters, becoming his people’s sole writer. One of the tyrant’s scribes, Benedikt, is the main narrator of The Slynx. He is in love with books as objects but is unable to derive any meaning or moral benefit from them. Like the imagined, feared animal of this rollicking satirical novel’s title, Benedikt represents lust, cruelty, egotism, and ignorance. The Slynx and Benedikt are one.
As Pearl K. Bell wrote of Tolstaya’s stories on the cover of the New York Times Book Review, “The blazing vitality of [her] imagination, the high-spirited playfulness . . . place her in that uniquely Russian line of satirists and surrealists.” David Remnick has called her “the most promising of all the ‘post-Soviet’ writers . . . She sounds like no one else.”

About Tatyana Tolstaya

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Born in Leningrad, Tatyana Tolstaya comes from an old Russian family that includes the writers Leo and Alexei Tolstoy. She studied at Leningrad State University and then moved to Moscow, where she continues to live. She is also the author of Pushkin's Children: Writings on Russia and Russians.Jamey Gambrell is a writer on Russian art and culture. Her translations include Marina Tsvetaeva's Earthly Signs: Moscow Diaries 1917-1922 and Vladimir Sorokin's Ice, published by NYRB Classics on December 2006.
Published January 15, 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 288 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Slynx

Publishers Weekly

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Though some may already consider contemporary Russia a kind of dystopia, things could yet be worse, as posited in Tolstaya's intelligent debut novel (after two acclaimed story collections, Sleepwalker in a Fog and On the Golden Porch).

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The New York Review of Books

Poised between Nabokov’s Pale Fire and Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, The Slynx is a brilliantly inventive and shimmeringly ambiguous work of art: an account of a degraded world that is full of echoes of the sublime literature of Russia’s past;

Mar 06 2007 | Read Full Review of The Slynx: A Novel

The Pacific Northwest Inlander

He works as a scribe, carefully copying down bits of text authored by their beloved leader, not realizing that what he's copying are plagiarized great works from before the Blast.

Jan 09 2003 | Read Full Review of The Slynx: A Novel

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