Books
Serhiy Zhadan

Depeche Mode

b2705629170has quoted9 months ago
I understood that I could very well have been born in another far worse country, with, for example, a harsher climate or an authoritarian form of government ruled not simply by bastards, like in my country, but by demented bastards who pass on their rule to their children along with a foreign debt and domestic obscurantism
Ingrid Belanhas quoted3 years ago
it’s just that everyone has this tendency to say ‘family, family’ but in reality they don’t give a damn, they get together only at funerals and memorial services, and that’s all
Ingrid Belanhas quoted3 years ago
What do you have to do to your brain over the course of a life to prevent it from finally rotting and becoming a pile of slimy seaweed useless even for making food? I
Ingrid Belanhas quoted3 years ago
Overall, Carburetor has this capacity for stepping into shit that isn’t meant for him.
Ingrid Belanhas quoted3 years ago
At first we would pull them apart, then we realized it was no use, if the fellas want to fight, let them fight. Maybe that’s normal among historians, maybe the KGB pays them extra for it, who cares.
Ingrid Belanhas quoted3 years ago
but I am only asking for a small ray of light, a tiny one, the kind you get at night when you open the fridge
Ingrid Belanhas quoted3 years ago
Most of the women he sees are on TV. Maybe he should tell them about television.
Ingrid Belanhas quoted3 years ago
Of course, thinks Dogg, that’s my soul, but how come it’s got gold teeth?
Ingrid Belanhas quoted3 years ago
well, what are friends for, if not to straighten out your social status through direct intervention
Ingrid Belanhas quoted3 years ago
I understood that I could very well have been born in another far worse country, with, for example, a harsher climate or an authoritarian form of government ruled not simply by bastards, like in my country, but by demented bastards who pass on their rule to their children along with a foreign debt and domestic obscurantism
Ingrid Belanhas quoted3 years ago
was satisfied with the country in which I lived, the amount of shit that filled it, which in the most critical aspects of my life in this country reached up to my knees and higher
Алла Онеськоhas quoted5 years ago
17.06.93 (Thursday)
INTRODUCTION NO. 1
16.50
June 17, near five in the afternoon, Dogg Pavlov tries to enter the subway. He walks up to the revolving door, goes straight up to the woman in uniform, and pulls a veteran’s card out of his pocket. The woman in uniform looks at the card and reads “Pavlova, Vira Naumivna.” “So?” she asks.
“My grandmother,” says Dogg Pavlov.
“Where is your grandmother?”
“This,” says Dogg pointing at the card, “is my grandmother.”
“What of it?”
“She’s a veteran.”
“And you, what do you want?”
“She burned in a tank.”
The woman looks at the card again. Who knows, she thinks, maybe she did burn—you can’t tell from a photograph.
“Well, okay,” she says. “And what can I do for you?’”
“A pass,” says Dogg.
“You burned in a tank too?”
“Listen,” Dogg begins to bargain. “Maybe I’m bringing her something to eat.”
“What do you mean, to eat?”
“You know, to eat.” Dogg tries to remember what his grandmother eats when she is given food. “Dairy products—cheese, for example.”
“You’re a cheese yourself,” says the lady in uniform without animosity.
Dogg understands how all this looks from the side: he’s beating his head against an enormous endless wall that separates him from life, beating his head without any hope of success, and all life’s pleasures, including a ride on the subway, are just not in the cards right now, that’s the way it looks. He gathers all his willpower into his fist and says something like: Listen, lady—of course, he doesn’t say it in those words, but the content is approximately the same. So listen to me carefully— he says—okay? Listen, listen, I want to say something else, listen. Well, in spite of—let’s see, how can I say it— you, I don’t know, you can take this in your own way, I agree, maybe it means nothing to you but still you have to agree: my grandmother cannot be allowed to die of hunger just because I, her beloved grandson, if you allow me, was denied entry to the subway by some lousy rear guarder. You have to agree, no? (Well, at this point they just lay into one another verbally, but we’ll ignore that.) He concentrates all his willpower and suddenly dives under the woman’s arms, waving the veteran’s card in the air, and disappears into the subway’s cool intestines.
“What does he mean, lousy rear guarder who never saw the front lines?” thinks the woman. “I wasn’t born ’til 1949.”
17.10
At the stadium stop, Dogg gets off onto an empty platform; in about an hour Metalist is playing its last home game, everyone is getting together, you know how it is, the end of the season, the rainy summer above, the clouded sky and the dilapidated stadium that stands somewhere just above Dogg; in the last few years it’s started to come apart, grass springing up between the concrete slabs, especially after a rain, the stands covered in pigeon shit, there’s shit on the field too, especially when our team’s playing, the country’s in ruins, the phys ed movement is in ruins, the big chiefs have fucking wasted the main thing—in my opinion, whatever you say—because under the Sovs there were two things that you could be proud of, the soccer championship and nuclear weapons, and the guys who took these pleasures away from the people will hardly live to a peaceful and carefree old age, for surely nothing undermines karma as much as screwed-up national politics. Dogg stands on the platform a bit longer, his friends are supposed to come from the other direction, so he just has to wait for them. Dogg is tired and worn out, he’s been drinking for three days, and the weather’s bad too, obviously the weather is affecting him, the pressure or whatever it’s called—what do you call the condition when you drink for three days and suddenly stop recognizing your friends and family? It’s the pressure, obviously.
He can’t even remember what happened—the summer had begun so well, the rains came, Dogg was successfully pissing away the best years of his life, when suddenly his advertising friends dragged the reliably unemployed Dogg into the bowels of the advertising industry: to put it more simply, they hired him as a courier in their newspaper’s advertising department. Dogg suffered badly, but he held up and kept going to work. He wasn’t much benefit to them, but at least someplace considered him human, although personally he has never been very concerned about this—well, what are friends for, if not to straighten out your social status through direct intervention. I said from the first that he wouldn’t last long but they weren’t listening, they said don’t worry, on the whole he’s a decent guy, a bit fucked up, but okay, okay, and I agreed, okay.
Dogg lasts ten days, after that he goes on a binge and doesn’t come to work anymore, and so as not to be found he drinks at the homes of acquaintances; at 19 he knows half the city, one night he even sleeps at the railway station— there he meets some mushroom-picking friends who are taking the early-morning commuter train to somewhere in the Donbas for raw material and spends the night with them under the columns on the street, where he is rousted three times by the patrols; he sticks it out until morning, listening to tales about mushrooms and other thermonuclear stuff, then he breaks down and takes off for home. Here he encounters a ringing telephone. Under different circumstances Dogg would never have picked it up, but cold silver trout are already swimming inside him after a three-day alcoholic binge and their tails are beating against his kidneys and liver so painfully that his world is getting hazy and so he automatically picks up the receiver. “Dogg?” they shout into the telephone. “Don’t you dare put down the phone!” His friends the advertisers Vova and Volodia, who fixed him up with the job in the advertising business to their own detriment, are sitting somewhere in their Komsomol office tearing the receiver from each other’s hands trying to convince Dogg to speak to them, occasionally drifting off into profanities. “Dogg!” they say, “the main thing—don’t you dare put down the phone. Hey asshole!” they say, reassured that he is listening. “If you put down the phone now, you’re dead. We’ll bury you, you hear?” “Hello,” says Dogg in reply. “What do you mean ‘hello’?” say Vova and Volodia losing their cool. “What do you mean ‘hello’? Can you hear us?” “Yes,” says the frightened Dogg. “Good,” Vova and Volodia answer, encouraged. “Okay, listen, it’s now ten in the morning.” “What?” Dogg is now finally terrified and lets the receiver drop. The telephone immediately crackles again. He picks up the receiver indecisively. “You!!!” roars the voice. “Asshole!!! Don’t you dare put down the phone!!!” Dogg swallows with difficulty. “Do you hear?” “Okay,” says Dogg uncertainly. “So it’s like this,” explode the advertisers. “It is now ten in the morning—don’t you dare put down the phone!!! You hear??? Don’t you dare put down the phone!!! It’s now ten. At half past five we’ll be waiting for you by the stadium. If you don’t come, we’ll rip your balls off. If you come, we’ll rip your balls off anyway. But it will be better for you if you come. Understand?” “Yes,” says Dogg. “Do you understand!?” the advertisers cannot calm down. “I understand,” says Dogg Pavlov, feeling the trout swimming cheerfully somewhere under his throat. “What’s with you?” the advertisers finally ask. “Are you feeling bad?” “Yes.” “Do you need anything?” “Some vodka.” “Asshole,” say Vova and Volodia and put down the receiver. Dogg takes a breath. Ten o’clock. He needs to change or have a drink, better a drink, of course. His granny comes out of the next room. This granny, he loves her and all that, even goes around with her veteran’s card, you could even say that he’s proud of her, not entirely, of course, but up to a certain point, he tells people that she burned in a tank, I have trouble imagining the little old lady in a tank wearing a helmet, although anything’s possible. “How are you Vitalik?” she says. “Work, granny, work,” says Dogg. “What kind of work is it?” worries the little old lady. “Yesterday, they telephoned all day, asking, ‘Where is that asshole?’ And I should know?”
Алла Онеськоhas quoted5 years ago
The referee’s completely pissed
he doesn’t like our Metalist
15.02.04 (Sunday)
When I was fourteen and had my own views about life, I first loaded up on alcohol. Up to the gills. It was really hot and the blue heavens swam above me, and I lay dying on a striped mattress and couldn’t even get drunk, because I was only fourteen and simply didn’t know how. In the last fifteen years, I’ve had more than enough reasons to dislike this life: from the beginning, from when I first began to become aware of it, it seemed a vile and mean thing, it immediately began creating lousy situations that you try not to remember but cannot forget. For my part, of course, I never made any special demands, my relations with life were okay, in spite of its clinically idiotic nature. For the most part, unless there was some new governmental initiative, I was satisfied—with the circumstances in which I lived, the people I knew, the ones I saw from time to time and had dealings with. For the most part they didn’t bother me, and, I expect, didn’t bother them. What else? I was satisfied with how much money I had, which is not to say that I was satisfied with the amount as such —I never really had any dough at all—but I was satisfied with the basic principle of how it circulated around me— from childhood I noticed that banknotes appear when you need them, roughly in the bare minimum required, and normally things worked out: they work out fine, of course, if you haven’t lost all sense of decency and at least keep up some appearances—meaning that you brush your teeth, or don’t eat pork if you’re a Muslim; then the angel with black accountant armbands and dandruff on his wings appears with strange regularity to refill your current account with a certain sum in local currency, just enough, on the one hand, to prevent you from croaking and, on the other, to stop you from screwing around too much and messing up your reincarnation by buying tankers of oil or cisterns of spirits. I was satisfied with this arrangement, I understood the angels and supported them. I was satisfied with the country in which I lived, the amount of shit that filled it, which in the most critical aspects of my life in this country reached up to my knees and higher. I understood that I could very well have been born in another far worse country, with, for example, a harsher climate or an authoritarian form of government ruled not simply by bastards, like in my country, but by demented bastards who pass on their rule to their children along with a foreign debt and domestic obscurantism. So I considered my fate not to be so bad, and I didn’t worry too much about these things. For the most part I was satisfied with everything, I was satisfied with the television picture I saw through the windows of the apartments in which I lived, which is why I tried not to change the channel too quickly, because I had noticed that attention from the reality installed around me always resulted in some predictable nastiness or simply more of life’s routine crap. Reality on its own is cool, but it’s a complete bummer once you start going over the post-game statistics, when you analyze your own and reality’s major indicators and see that it committed more fouls than you did but only your side got penalized. If anything really oppressed me it was the television screen’s constant, insistent demands for unnatural sexual relations with me—to put it simply, to screw me by taking advantage of my social rights and Christian duties. I’ve lived my fifteen years of adult life cheerfully, taking no part in the construction of civil society, never turning up at a polling site, and successfully avoiding contact with the oppressive regime, if you know what I mean. I had no interest in politics, no interest in economics, no interest in culture, no interest even in the weather forecast—this was maybe the only thing in the country that inspired trust, but I had no interest in it anyway.
Now I’m thirty. What has changed in the last fifteen years? Almost nothing. Even the external appearance of this… president hasn’t changed much; in any case his portraits are airbrushed today in the same way as they were before, even I noticed that. The music on the radio has changed, but by and large I don’t listen to the radio. Clothes have changed, but the eighties, as far as I can tell, are still in fashion. Television hasn’t changed, it’s still as sticky and irritating as lemonade spilled on a parquet floor. The climate hasn’t changed, the winters are just as long, and the springs just as long-awaited. Friends have changed, meaning that some have disappeared forever, and others have appeared to take their place. Memory has changed—it has become longer, but not any better. I hope there will be enough of it for about another sixty years of extended pragmatic apathy and unshakeable equanimity of spirit, which is what I wish for myself. Amen.
Алла Онеськоhas quoted5 years ago
The referee’s completely pissed
he doesn’t like our Metalist
15.02.04 (Sunday)
When I was fourteen and had my own views about life, I first loaded up on alcohol. Up to the gills. It was really hot and the blue heavens swam above me, and I lay dying on a striped mattress and couldn’t even get drunk, because I was only fourteen and simply didn’t know how. In the last fifteen years, I’ve had more than enough reasons to dislike this life: from the beginning, from when I first began to become aware of it, it seemed a vile and mean thing, it immediately began creating lousy situations that you try not to remember but cannot forget. For my part, of course, I never made any special demands, my relations with life were okay, in spite of its clinically idiotic nature. For the most part, unless there was some new governmental initiative, I was satisfied—with the circumstances in which I lived, the people I knew, the ones I saw from time to time and had dealings with. For the most part they didn’t bother me, and, I expect, didn’t bother them. What else? I was satisfied with how much money I had, which is not to say that I was satisfied with the amount as such —I never really had any dough at all—but I was satisfied with the basic principle of how it circulated around me— from childhood I noticed that banknotes appear when you need them, roughly in the bare minimum required, and normally things worked out: they work out fine, of course, if you haven’t lost all sense of decency and at least keep up some appearances—meaning that you brush your teeth, or don’t eat pork if you’re a Muslim; then the angel with black accountant armbands and dandruff on his wings appears with strange regularity to refill your current account with a certain sum in local currency, just enough, on the one hand, to prevent you from croaking and, on the other, to stop you from screwing around too much and messing up your reincarnation by buying tankers of oil or cisterns of spirits. I was satisfied with this arrangement, I understood the angels and supported them. I was satisfied with the country in which I lived, the amount of shit that filled it, which in the most critical aspects of my life in this country reached up to my knees and higher. I understood that I could very well have been born in another far worse country, with, for example, a harsher climate or an authoritarian form of government ruled not simply by bastards, like in my country, but by demented bastards who pass on their rule to their children along with a foreign debt and domestic obscurantism. So I considered my fate not to be so bad, and I didn’t worry too much about these things. For the most part I was satisfied with everything
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