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By Andrey Kurkov

A masterful story set in post-Soviet Kiev that's either darkly-funny and ominous...

In the commonly hailed prequel to Penguin misplaced, aspiring author Viktor Zolotaryov leads a down-and-out lifestyles in poverty-and-violence-wracked Kiev--he's out of labor and his in simple terms buddy is a penguin, Misha, that he rescued while the neighborhood zoo began removing animals. much more nerve-wracking: an area mobster has taken a shine to Misha and desires to maintain borrowing him for events.

But Viktor thinks he's eventually stuck a holiday whilst he lands a good- paying task on the Kiev newspaper writing "living obituaries" of neighborhood dignitaries--articles to be filed to be used whilst the time comes.

The purely factor is, it kind of feels the time continuously comes once Viktor writes the item. Slowly knowing that his personal existence can be in jeopardy, Viktor additionally realizes that the one factor that may be preserving him alive is his penguin.

From the alternate Paperback edition.

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He appeared around on the learn partitions, yet didn’t contact anything. He fetched suits from the fuel range within the kitchen. In a small wall cabinet within the hall he stumbled on a bottle of acetone, which he took again to the examine. remaining his brain to what he was once doing, he splashed acetone over the books at the reduce cabinets and on a pile of outdated newspapers below the table. part the pile of newspapers he took into the lounge and positioned lower than the dinner desk, throwing the tea-stained textile to affix them. He then went round atmosphere mild to the papers and something that will burn. Flames hissed in either rooms, yet as but too feebly to engulf that doomed international. gaining knowledge of sheets, pillowcases and towels within the chest of drawers, he further them to the blaze, including Pidpaly’s raincoat from its peg within the hall. In a whirl of black smuts, the air grew warmer, filling the room with smoke and sparks and forcing him out into the hall. The crackle of burning grew progressively louder. Flames had already penetrated the desk best and have been now licking on the legs. Feeling for Pidpaly’s keys, he made for the door, yet darted again to change off the lounge mild. the hearth glowed a deeper purple at nighttime, extra attractive and bad than sooner than. He locked the outer door in the back of him. He made a circuit of the block, then stopped contrary Pidpaly’s home windows and watched the flames popping up to the ceiling. He regarded up on the first ground. No lighting fixtures have been displaying – the folks there have been both asleep or now not but again. He took one other glance through the window on the dancing flames. in order that used to be that. He had saved his promise. yet his arms have been shaking and chilly shivers have been operating up and down his backbone. Turning away, he noticed a phone on the nook of the neighbouring block, and from the following he referred to as the hearth brigade. Glass shattered, as though the fireplace have been forcing its approach out. a girl screamed. 5 mins later he heard the wail of fire-engine sirens. With home equipment at the scene and their crews bustling approximately, rolling out hoses and shouting. Viktor took a final examine the now doomed flames, and trigger at an unhurried speed to the Metro. He had the style of smoke in his mouth. Snowflakes fell frivolously on his face, yet prior to they can soften, have been blown away by means of an icy wind. fifty four “Your hair smells of bonfire,” Nina whispered sleepily as Viktor slipped into mattress. He muttered a few answer, grew to become away and fell asleep instantly, completely exhausted. He woke at approximately ten, listening to Sonya talking with Misha beside the mattress. “Sonya, where’s Auntie Nina? ” “Gone. We had breakfast after which she went. We’ve left you anything. ” at the kitchen desk he came upon boiled eggs and lower than the salt cellar, a notice: hello! Didn’t are looking to wake you. Going to offer Sergey’s mom a hand: store and do the bathing. Be again the instant I’ve accomplished. Love, Nina. Screwing up the be aware, Viktor felt the eggs. They have been chilly. He made himself a few tea and breakfasted. He went again to the bed room. “Fed Misha, Sonya? ” “Yes. He’s had fish at the present time, yet he nonetheless turns out unsatisfied.

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