Yuri Mamleyev: Шатуны (The Sublimes)


The latest addition to my website Yuri Mamleyev‘s Шатуны (The Sublimes). This one of the most unpleasant books I have read for a long time. Mamleyev is clearly aiming to show the dark side of life and deal with issues of mortality and immortality, life and death and the (very) dark side of life under the Soviets. However, random serial killing (and then talking to the corpse), sadistic killing of animals, sex with goslings (really!) and drinking cat’s blood do not make for an enjoyable novel. We start with Fyodor Sonnov, the serial killer, whose mass killings are an attempt by him, it would seem, to gain some sort of immortality for himself. We move on to his sister, Klavdia (the one with the goslings) her neighbours (sex on the rubbish tip, eating body scabs) before moving onto the more intellectual side of things, with a group of people who still practise a certain amount of sadistic killing but prefer to talk about it and think about it. Fyodor wants to kill all the intellectuals and, frankly, I can sympathise with him. This novel was only published after the Soviet era and, for once, I can understand Soviet censorship. If you like novels about a man deliberately having sex with his wife to cause her to have a miscarriage or a man who wants to have sex with a woman as she dies, then this is the novel for you. For the rest, I would say, give it a miss.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Nanosecond

    Hilarious review, and someday maybe let us know why you read these things. As long as you are on a Russian binge, one of my favorites is A Certain Finkelmeyer by Felix Roziner.

    1. tmn

      I read it because it had a reputation of being interesting. Interesting it perhaps was but enjoyable it was not.

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