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by Andrey Platonov, translated from the Russian by Elizabeth Chandler and Robert Chandler

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Chevengur is a revolutionary novel about revolutionary ardor and despair. Zakhar Pavlovich comes from a world of traditional crafts to work as a train mechanic, motivated by his belief in the transformative power of industry. His adopted son, Sasha Dvanov, embraces revolution, which will transform everything: the words we speak and the lives we live, souls and bodies, the soil underfoot and the sun overhead. Seeking communism, Dvanov joins up with Stepan Kopionkin, a warrior for the cause whose steed is the fearsome cart horse Strength of the Proletariat. Together they cross the steppe, encountering counterrevolutionaries, desperados, and visionaries of all kinds. At last they reach the isolated town of Chevengur. There communism is believed to have been achieved because everything that is not communism has been eliminated. And yet even in Chevengur the revolution recedes from sight. 

Comic, ironic, grotesque, disturbingly poetic in its use of language, and profoundly sorrowful, Chevengur—here published in a new English translation based on the most authoritative Russian text—is the most ambitious of the extraordinary novels that the great Andrey Platonov wrote in the 1920s and 1930s, when Soviet Russia was moving from revolutionary euphoria to state terror. 

Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681377681
Pages: 576
Publication Date:


I squint back on our century and I see six writers I think it will be remembered for. They are Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, Robert Musil, William Faulkner, Andrey Platonov, and Samuel Beckett.
—Joseph Brodsky

In 1929, Andrey Platonov—poet, engineer, true believer wrestling with demons of unbelief—completed his massive lyrical novel Chevengur, where the suffering and violence of a Communist utopia are conveyed...through sadness, slow-motion pain, and linguistic bewilderment. The reincarnation of this masterwork in English [has been] impeccably midwifed by the Chandlers.
—Caryl Emerson

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