Death and the Penguin

By Andrey Kurkov
(Harvill Press, Paperback, 9781860469459, 192pp.)

Publication Date: May 29, 2003

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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Viktor is an aspiring writer with only Misha, his pet penguin, for company. Although he would prefer to write short stories, he earns a living composing obituaries for a newspaper. He longs to see his work published, yet the subjects of his obituaries continue to cling to life. But when he opens the newspaper to see his work in print for the first time, his pride swiftly turns to terror. He and Misha have been drawn into a trap from which there appears to be no escape.

About the Author

Andrey Kurkkov, born in St Petersburg in 1961, now lives in Kiev. Having graduated from the Kiev Foreign Languages Institute, he worked for some time as a journalist, did his military service as a prison warder at Odessa, then became a film cameraman, writer of screenplays and author of critically acclaimed and popular novels.

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012

Ukrainian novelist Andrey Kurkov writes short, surrealistic stories full of dark comedic surprises. His latest is The Case of the General's Thumb, but critic John Powers suggests starting with his 1996 novel, Death and the Penguin. It's a fast-paced, witty read and what Powers calls "an almost perfect novel." More at

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Praise For Death and the Penguin

"Death and the Penguin is a brilliant satirical take on life in modern-day Kiev. Watch out, though, as Kurkov's writing style is highly addictive"

"Our anti-hero finds himself writing obituaries for soon to be deceased undesirables in the chaotic and dangerous modern Ukraine, macaberly observed by his depressed pet King Penguin Misha. Immensely readable with terrifically dark humour, loved it."
-Wayne Winstone, Ottakars

"The deadpan tone works perfectly, and it will be a hard-hearted reader who is not touched by Viktor's relationship with his unusual pet"
-The Times

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