Posts tagged “london review of books”

  • Michael Wood reviews Oblomov in the London Review of Books

    Michael Wood reviews Oblomov in the London Review of Books

    August 5, 2009

    This intimately funny and desperately sad novel opens with a parade of visitors to Ilya Ilich Oblomov’s Petersburg flat. Most of them are introduced, in this new translation, by the phrase "in walked", which creates a wonderful sense of flatness, repetition and invasion. All but one of the visitors are busy in some way or other, full of talk of the world, parties, work, the latest literary news. . . The very descriptions of these people make us tired, setting us up for a largely (although not entirely) disreputable identification with the book’s slothful hero. . . Oblomov is not exactly a person, and this is only partly a psychological novel. . . the story of his non-life and real death, his long kindness to himself, is really the story of a series of stances and occasions, human possibilities squandered and slept through. . . The writing here. . . offers a fine example of sly and compassionate satire, a very rare genre indeed.Michael Wood, London Review of Books

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