«The Penguin Book of New Russian Writing»

Viktor Erofeyev, Varlam Shalamov, Viktor Astafiev, Abram Terts, Fridrikh Gorenshtein, Yury Mamleev, Venedikt Erofeev, Valery Popov, Sergei Dovlatov, Sasha Sokolov, Evgeny Kharitonov, Vyacheslav Pietsukh, Edward Limonov, Evgeny Popov, Tatyana Tolstaya, Dmitry Prigov, Lev Rubinshtein, Anatoly Gavrilov, Vladimir Sorokin, Igor Yarkevich

The Penguin Book of New Russian Writing:
Russia's Fleur du Mal

Compiled with an Introduction by Victor Erofeyev.

Edited by Victor Erofeyev and Andrew Reynolds.

Translated by John Glad, Andrew Reynolds, Arch Tait, Andrew Bromfield, Stephen Mulrine, James Doyle, Anne Frydman, Olga Pobedinskaya, Robert Porter, Jamey Gambrell, Mark Shuttleworth.

// London: «Penguin Books», 1995,
paperback, 416(XXX+386) p.,
ISBN: 0-14-015963-0, 978-0-14-015963-9
dimensions: 197⨉128⨉22 mm

The Penguin Book of New Russian Writing

Penguin Books

Victor Erofeyev, who has been hailed as 'the heir to the long-lost Russian avant-garde', is the author of the. highly acclaimed novel «Russian Beauty». It has been translated into twenty-six languages and is a bestseller around the world. His collection of short stories, «Life with an Idiot», is currently being translated into English.

Victor Erofeyev was born in 1947. He lived in Paris for three years as a child, where his father was a high-ranking Soviet diplomat. A literary critic and dissident writer, he contributed to the 1979 collection «Metropol», which led to his being banned from Soviet print until the Gorbachev era. He lectures at various American universities and writes regularly for «The Times Literary Supplement» and other papers. He has also written an introduction to «The Little Demon» by Fyodor Sologub for Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics. He is married with a son and lives predominantly in Moscow.

Andrew Reynolds is Research Fellow in Russian at Queens' College, Cambridge. Born in Swansea in 1964, he was educated at Dynevor Comprehensive School and Merton College, Oxford. His translation of «Russian Beauty» was highly praised in both Britain and the USA. The author of a number of articles and translations, he is at present working on a critical study of the poetry Osip Mandelstam wrote in exile in Voronezh. He is married with a daughter.

The Night Souper

Edward Limonov

I am a solitary man, my amusements those of a solitary man. Even when living with women I have been and remain solitary.

Flying into New York some ten years after first landing there, I stayed out of interest at the same Latham Hotel where I spent my first night on the North American continent, the night of 18 February 1975. I walked its corridors, somnambulistically savouring the past. I did not ring up old friends. Warm feelings towards them were alive deep in my heart, but I did not feel like seeing them. I like the personages from my past to stay in their proper place and not get under my feet by suddenly turning up in the wrong place, like the present.

Back again in the city of my second youth, I did partly regress to old habits, perhaps not fully aware of doing so. My routine became fragmented and jerky and chaotic, as it had been then. I would wake suddenly at two in the morning, dress, go down to New York, and wander the streets until dawn. At dawn I would buy a pack of beer in a supermarket, an n-shaped Polish sausage, and return to the hotel. I would switch on the telly, climb into bed, drink the six-pack, consume the sausage. I suspect this supposed sausage was in fact a hundred per cent hormones; at all events when you bit it open it was a pinkish colour as venomous as the pinks and greens on the screen of the clapped out television.

Sprawling in the Latham with my beer, television and Polish kiełbasa, I discovered to my deep satisfaction that I was completely happy. The stupid soap operas I had known and loved were still being shown or repeated, and I had no trouble in working out within a few days who was who in the new ones. That the soaps were stupid in no wise prevented them from prompting me to thoughts both serious and profound. Looking at the plump physiognomies of their heroes, I reflected without resentment that Americans look like visitors from outer space. They have far fewer wrinkles than Europeans. If a European face is a veiny piece of meat ramifying into bags under eyes, hollow cheeks, pouches at the mouth and ears, the American physiognomy is a piece of meat less defined, more généralisé. It is a bare and unashamed plaster moulage, unchipped by history, uncrazed by the delicate patina of culture. I was reminded of «Invasion of the Body Snatchers» where aliens from outer space are clones of people rather than real people. If you look closely at the actors in «Dynasty» or «Dallas» (which I mention here not as an opinionated intellectual intent on disparaging them, but because these are soaps known to the entire world, so that everybody can share my perception), you easily notice the inhuman smoothness of their faces, hair inhumanly healthy and flawless such as is found only in wigs or in the coats of well-fed, neutered dogs. Again, the tele-Americans remind you of mental patients doped to the eyeballs with insulin. (I lived among such placid homunculi many years ago during my incarceration in the Kharkov mental hospital, so know what I am talking about: a topic for research.) Our American cousins look like people, but were we to dismantle, say, an arm or a leg (as the robotic Arnie Schwarzenegger 'repairs' his own arm in «The Terminator»), would we not discover the mechanical architecture and printed circuits of a computer? Happily, the actual denizens of urban and small town America are less bland than the tele-Americans.

It was hot all 'that' day, but cooled towards evening and, with the falling of darkness, became cooler still. A wind blew the warm clouds away from the skies over New York, a large moon appeared, and all nature composed itself into a likeness of autumn. This coolness was unseasonable: usually early September in New York is hot and muggy. It left me feeling restive. About midnight I found myself in a bar on midtown Broadway. Seated at the piano, a jazz singer was performing.

In the semi-darkness I downed several Guinnesses in a row and tried chatting up the singer, only to be rebuffed. This occurrence will not be going off in my last act like Chekhov's rifle, but it set the tone for the evening and night to follow. Feeling symbolically rejected not only by the singer but by New York itself, I blazed with a desire to be taken once more to the bosom of my native city. Whither this desire was to lead you will shortly see. The singer explained her grounds for turning me down so frankly that I shall allow myself to quote our brief exchange. When I asked what time she finished and whether I might buy her a drink in a different bar, my leggy interlocutor took a pair of red-framed spectacles from her handbag (it was during her break), put them on, and said seriously, unsmilingly, bespectacled, «Sorry, but no. I already have plenty men in my life: one steady boyfriend and three occasional. Now, if you were in show business you could help get me out of this crummy hole,» she tapped her heel on the sawdust of the floor, «but you're not even American. I'm sure you're a great guy, but I'm tired of men.» She removed the spectacles and returned them to her handbag. I told her I only wanted to invite her for a drink because I so admired the brilliant way she, a white girl, performed Billie Holiday's repertoire. «Yeah, sure. The repertoire ends in bed every time,» she said wearily. «Somebody must have done something very bad to her in bed,» I thought, «for her to be so down on bed now.»

I left the bar and instinctively turned uptown. I had lived further up Broadway in 1977. My feet customarily took me to the Embassy Hotel without having to be asked, and I had been there once this time already. I knew that a perfectly nice, decaying, reeking hotel which had accommodated several hundred poor people (all of them blacks except for Limonov) had been bought up by the Japanese who had turned it into a plush, stupid apartment development called Embassy Tower. When I reached 72nd Street I came to a halt on its east side and, having halted, concluded there was no point in trekking on up Broadway, that I needed a beer at the very least, and most probably a half ring of kiełbasa too. To tell the truth, one Guinness in a piano-bar was out of my league, let alone three. Settling now for beer and sausage might not balance the budget, but would at least halt a process of ruinous extravagance. I could go back down Broadway a few streets to Anzonia Post Office Station where there was an all-night I and P supermarket. Or at least there used to be.

The supermarket was still there and still open with its cheery yellow panes of dull, bulletproof glass. Greatly moved, I entered my old friend. The familiar insanitary odours wafted in my face. How many times had I come here of a night to buy 'my menu' of kiełbasa, beer, the cheap, vile hamburger mash, and bread the consistency of cotton wool… There was the same fat Mexican security guard with his baton (Could it really be him? It could indeed.) gossiping with the black woman at the check-out; the same grey-green-faced manager walking around straightening the trolleys, his sagging belly pushing out the same trousers. The same bright red forcemeat was sweating under its plastic and offering itself up for hamburgers. A superabundance of cheap, unhealthy food, crudely packaged… a poor man's paradise. Chickens frozen like blocks of ice, dirty water flowing over tiles from beneath the meat counter. Oh, supermarché of my youth in New York, not reconstructed like the Embassy, you remain the same scruffy, unhealthy institution you always were. In days gone by, at this time of night my fellow-residents from the Embassy, alcoholics living, on welfare, would have been lurching among your cheap wonders, selecting a «Malt Liquor» with a venomous blue label. Now a more prosperous stratum of the population streamed to the banks of Broadway at Anzonia Post Office Station. There were fewer black faces. The supermarket would soon be refurbished and rendered sterile, and the prices would go up.

Finding no kiełbasa I took some tinned pork and a pack of buns. They sold hard liquor now, in a separate enclosure, practically behind bulletproof glass. In my time only beer and the homicidal malt liquors were on offer to the discerning customer. I wondered in passing about the bulletproof windows. Did the guys from Harlem raid all-night supermarkets for alcohol? Improbable. I bought a bottle of port and left, absently fitting my purchases into the shop's sturdy brown bag.

The night moved on into the small hours. I thought of the forty long blocks separating me from the Latham Hotel, resolutely brushed aside as unappealing the hypothesis of travelling on the subway, and turning the bottle of port in the brown bag, squashed the buns and their packaging and decided to organize myself an open-air night supper, a picnic. But where? If I made the effort I could turn off Broadway to Central Park, dispose myself excellently on the greensward, and sup beneath a poetic New York moon, mulling nostalgically over the far-off days of my youth.

Here I shall allow myself a historical digression on my relations with Central Park. New Yorkers are properly afraid of the park at night time and shun it after dark. The northernmost part, bordering Harlem, is visited rarely or not at all by the white man even by day. But I am different. I know fear, as everyone does, but always feel an urge to break taboos. I feel an urge, too, to prove to myself and others how brave I am. What prompted me to cross Central Park at night for the first time was not, however, bravado but dog-tiredness. I had drunk epically with my friend Bakhchanyan on East 83rd Street, and did not have the fare for the bus or subway. Usually I would return home from this friend's, whom I visited frequently in those years, by skirting Central Park, walking down the east side to 59th Street, also known as Central Park South, striding westwards, and then walking up Central Park West to the Embassy. This time I thought, why not? I clambered over the stone park wall (I could have entered by one of the entrances, which were always open, but preferred to go in over the wall as befitted a cutthroat, just in case anyone was watching) and headed for the West Side, doggedly progressing from tree to tree, bush to bush, openly, noisily, as a bandit, or aborigine, or master on his own territory should. Inwardly I kept telling myself, «You, Edward, are yourself the fiend, the gaunt figure in the night heedlessly bestriding your territory. You are yourself the most fearsome creature of the night, your purposes unknown or unpredictable. It is for others to be afraid of you…» A belated cyclist, possibly taking my conjurations seriously, veered away from the side of the road in fright and, attaching himself to a convoy of taxis crossing the park from East to West, pedalled off for all he was worth. Perhaps I really was someone to be afraid of in 1977. I was in crisis and had nothing to lose, not as yet having found anything. Growing in brazenness, I took to traversing the park every time chance led me at night to or from upper East Side. Each time I experienced a degree of fear, but I got hooked on this twenty- or twenty-five minute thrill.

Recalling past glories and smiling at my own recklessness, I now came to the park in the vicinity of 70th Street. Clutching my brown bag, clad in white jeans, boots and a light-coloured jacket, I walked unhesitatingly over to a bench without so much as a backward glance, stepped up on to the seat, then on to the back spar, and from there on to the wall of Central Park. I leapt resolutely down. The wall was not high on the street side, but fell away a couple of metres on the park side: further than I had expected. To my good fortune the turf on which I landed proved as well-padded as the average American midriff.

It was great: the moon, the pungent scent, despite the all-pervading smell of city dust and gasoline, of plant life beginning just slightly to decay, a masked ball of trees, the shadow of each deep and impenetrable. I scuffed my feet boldly through the grass.

I did not, however, go in too deep, preferring to stay on familiar territory. I could hear the sound of drums from the direction of 72nd Street. (On the corner of Central Park West and 72nd Street towers the fortress-like Dakota apartment building where John Lennon lived, and beside which he was zapped.) In my day the local dog-owners and joggers sat by the brightly lit park entrance at 72nd Street, joking or swearing at each other. We, the Embassy set, hung out there too. It was our people who came with drums and put on nights of African music. Who was beating the drums tonight? Could old friends, resettled now way out somewhere in the 150s, be coming back to our patch with their drums? I felt I really needed the beat of those tom-toms as an accompaniment to my night supper. «Are you by any chance afraid, Edward?» I asked myself, moving in under an unusually spreading pine tree. «Have you perhaps moved up to a higher social class and now fear the amusements of your former class so much that you skulk beside the exit?»

The pine tree was growing on a slope, and part of its crown bowed down like a separate tree, trailing powerful boughs over the grass, protecting me from the front from possible idle glances. Breathing in the piny scent, I put my brown bag down on the grass. I wanted to luxuriate in the pininess, and broke off a small branch, pricking myself in the process. I rubbed some of the needles between my fingers and sniffed them. Wonderful! I felt like a holiday-maker at his dacha and laughed out loud.

With my first swig of port I felt even better.

I made a mess of opening the tin. I pulled the ring too hard, with the result that the metal skin only partly came away, opening a small chink which gave access to the contents. I had to pare the needles off my branchlet and use it to root the pork out in sticky lumps. It was sweet. Never a glutton, I have nevertheless always enjoyed my food.

I tired of digging out pork, splitting buns and chewing. I put the tin to one side on the brown bag, gulped down a whole lot of port, and leaned back against the tree trunk. Automobile herds were lowing somewhere far away; distance mitigated the wailing of police sirens; a rural peace and quiet reigned in this collective of bedraggled shrubs. Through the branches of my pine tree drops of moonlight dappled the brown bag, the mutilated pork tin, and the buns. When the wind swayed the crown of the tree, the drops splashed down a little to one side, on to the grass.

Naturally I was visited by memories. They always come when I am comfortably sprawled, usurping the present. Memories came down on me like pink clouds, invisible as radioactive fall-out. I wended my way in spirit to the drums, and from them along Central Park West to 71st Street. I had worked there for several days with old Lenya Kosogor, installing an X-ray machine for a doctor whose name has been chewed and swallowed by time. Once we had installed it we had to line the walls of the X-ray room with thick lead sheeting. Why should this memory have come back to me? Memory had latched on to metals and sought out that lead. Across the years I saw the heavy sheets, their structure, the scratches on them. The broad round wooden mallet fell rhythmically on the black sheeting, kneading it to the surface of the wall. Memory next admired Lenya himself. Tall and round-shouldered, he was doing up the buttons on his quilted Moscow overcoat. We were walking down 71st Street towards Broadway, to the McDonald's. The interior of McDonald's on Broadway, Kosogor eating in his shirt sleeves, picking out the French fries with his fingers, calling me 'Cuntface', lovingly… He looked after me like a father. He was old enough to be my father and all. Where is he now? I remembered Kosogor's cavern in the basement of the Astoria, his tools. I must ring him. He's a good old boy. I took another swig of the port, planted the bottle down on the grass, and saw, screened from me by the branches, a figure standing there, blocking the moonlight…

Terror is not extremity of fear. It is a special condition. You do not experience terror in a cafe on Place de la Republique when, in the course of a gradually escalating quarrel, your antagonist suddenly pulls a knife on you. To experience fear is natural. The character with the knife may turn out to be seriously weird and end up stabbing you in the belly, or he may just put it away. Around you, however, there are other human beings; the patron may intervene; you don't really believe the character is going to use the knife. In any case you may manage to throw a glass at him, or a chair at his foot. You do not want to compromise your masculine dignity; you shout at him, he insults you… You may be frightened, but you do not feel terror. Or another situation: war. You are lying with other soldiers waiting for the signal to attack. You are holding a submachine-gun, its hardness reassuring. If the next moment a bomb were to score a direct hit on your regiment, you would not have time even to be frightened. A third situation: you have been taken prisoner by some organization which has imprisoned you in a cellar, chaining you to an iron ring. You feel fear (it is unusual, but not unknown, for hostages to be killed), physical discomfort, humiliation; but your masked kidnappers bring you food, you can even talk to them. When everything, or nearly everything, is clear the preconditions for terror simply are not present. Terror is possible only under the following circumstances:

1. An almost complete lack of information about the nature of the threat;

2. A situation which prevents the obtaining of information on the nature of the threat;

3. An element of mystery: unpredictable, irrational behaviour on the part of the threat (a wild animal, dragon, Frankensteinian monster, Sick Mind) which is prosecuting some inhuman purpose.

What I felt was terror. He, the threat, stood there wordless. He was wearing light trousers, a white shirt, and holding a knife. (Why should he have an unsheathed knife in his hand? What was his purpose?) It was large, theatrical somehow, emphatically symbolic, like the scythe of the Grim Reaper in an engraving. It would glint in the light of the moon or the stars or a distant streetlight, then almost disappear in darkness. He was holding the knife close to his hip in his left hand and drawing back a branch with the other. When he had drawn it back, he stood there staring at me.

Perhaps it was some brash businessman with an odd sense of humour who had slipped out into the night from one of the expensive apartment buildings on Central Park West for a little dangerous entertainment? Not very likely. Anyway, what difference would that make? I froze like a catatonic, the port bottle at chest height, barely removed from my lips.

There he stood, wordless, holding back the branch, the knife in his hand. He was white, in all probability even a blond, although it was also entirely possible that his blondness was an effect of the green light reflecting from the grass and trees. With the moon behind him I could see nothing of his facial features. His height was average and he was hefty, or perhaps he only seemed to be because of his loose-fitting shirt and trousers. I watched him, mesmerized, like a rabbit before the open jaws of a boa. Only because I could not see his eyes was I able to find the strength to ask him loudly whether he would like to have a drink with me. I straightened the arm holding the bottle towards him. I immediately recognized that it would be very foolish indeed to actually give him the bottle, my only weapon against his large knife.

He released the branch, turned, and quietly rustled off through the grass into the depths of the park. He did not want alcohol. He had not demanded money. He belonged to the most frightening category of all: he was an idealist of the moonlight. Oddballs who want neither to take your money nor to rape you most probably want to eat you. Why otherwise would he need a knife that size? He wanted to kill and eat me, as I myself had just eaten the jellied pork, and he wanted to do it under this very tree. I felt like a caged rabbit whose master has sized it up before, for some reason, not choosing it for his dinner. Watching the departing silhouette, I put the bottle to my lips, drinking in as much as I could of the sweet, strong liquid. I tried to think whether I had ever been in a similar state in my life. I had to go back to when I was nine, to the age of earliest consciousness. In a great, loud thunderstorm I had suddenly sensed that my parents would some day die and that I would be left alone. The lot of mortal man came to me in that thunderstorm. I remember I burst into tears, hiding my head in a dark press in a corridor inside our flat. We kept old blankets in it and things we never or rarely needed. The heavens above the outskirts of Kharkov were shaken by thunder, and my mother came from the kitchen to comfort me. Why should I have been visited by terror during just that thunderstorm? It was, however, in any case terror of quite a different kind, terror at the lot of man, terror of future death, at the very idea of death.

The smell of smoke was drifting from 72nd Street. Had somebody lit a bonfire? With that same billow of air the drums came nearer. I took up the can and sank my fingers into the pork. The sticky jelly made the meat difficult to catch hold of. A fork would have made all the difference. I chewed and swallowed the sweet meat, wiping my fingers on the grass. They smelled unexpectedly, when I sniffed them, of fish. The September grass must have combined with the bicarbonates, or hydrochlorides, or whatever in the jelly to produce the smell of fish. Central Park quivered tremulously, its depths, its light spots and dark, all its shades of green from pale lettuce to dark fir; all its distances, its geometrical shapes, or more exactly shapelessnesses. I could feel a breeze blowing at ground level, over the grass, on my feet, as if somewhere doors had been left open, like a draught in a huge flat which extended fifty blocks from north to south, and ten from east to west, such a chill draught, perhaps the wind of death? The oddball was plainly off his rocker. What was he doing wandering around with an oversized knife which looked like it belonged on the stage or in someone's kitchen? Why was he showing it off when he should have been hiding it? Black or Puerto Rican muggers like thin knives with a blade which springs out from inside, or a folding knife flicked open by a spring at the edge of the blade. Puerto Ricans' knives are like Puerto Ricans, slim and agile. Is it because I am myself diminutive that I warm to Puerto Ricans? Perhaps. Oddball was no Puerto Rican, his silhouette was all wrong. He was a stark raving white loony with all the wires in his head mixed up. They had connected at random, unnaturally, and lit up he was wandering the park at night without purpose, a switched on, hoofed Minotaur. Some of the wires in his brain were short circuiting, that was all. It was enough…

Behind my back, on the slope, I heard a crunch. Somebody had trodden on a twig in the grass, a branch, an empty packet of… My back peeled from the pine tree of its own accord. Without standing up, I swivelled deftly on my heels like the Prince in «Sleeping Beauty», and saw him. He was now standing over me in the same pose, one hand drawing the pine branch back from his face, the other holding the stagy knife. My feet went cold, and I could feel the sweat on my calves. Sweating calves?! I took this strange biological phenomenon as a final warning from an organism deeply concerned for its self-preservation. I saw myself as a machine on the verge of blowing up. All the needles on the pressure gauges were at the red line, quivering and jerking. It was time to get the hell out of there. I got up and, lifting the bottle, came unhurriedly out from beneath the pine tree, parting its crown which trailed over the grass. I knew that if I hurried (my back was acutely registering the pressure of his stare) towards the exit at 72nd Street, the oddball with the messed up wires in his head would come for me, because his pupils (or whatever part of his eyes he used) would register fear in my back. His reactions were triggered by fear. A certain intensity of heat, a certain level of fear would turn him on, and then he would hack, and grind his teeth, and cut out my liver and gorge himself on it, cut out my heart and gorge himself on that too. For some reason I recalled that Captain Cook got eaten when the natives decided he wasn't God. I thought, too, that the doomed victim taken to the Minotaur in his labyrinth, must have felt something like what I was presently feeling: completely alone with a malevolent (alien) brain, surrounded by cliffs, and rocks, and trees. Man seems monstrous to a rabbit, a hen, a sheep, a cow. For them Man is the Evil One. The Minotaur seems monstrous to man.

Brandishing my bottle, I headed off unhurriedly into the depths of the park, into the dark, where a labyrinth of tarmac paths gradually lead the wanderer a length equivalent to thirteen blocks to Central Park South, a street of plush hotels and stretch limousines. My father had firmly drummed into me in childhood that you should never run away from dogs. Oddballs with the nerve wires joined up in their heads all wrong must be subject to the same instinctive laws as large dogs, hunting instincts.

The first few minutes were heavy going. When his stare was no longer directly on my back, attenuating with distance and as my back became partially shielded by branches, shrubs, even rocks and the edges of rocks (Central Park is located on a basalt plateau striated in pre-human times by a glacier), I felt easier. He had not followed me, because in his programming the Prey, the Quarry had different characteristics. It should dart about nervously, shrieking, squealing, trying to run away. The sounds and movements I made did not trigger him. I am quite sure of this. I am quite sure too that if I had reacted otherwise, if my fear had been picked up by his sensors, I would have ended up lying beneath that pine tree, my fingers covered in pork jelly, birds jumping up and down picking at the remains of the rolls. The bottle of port would have rolled down to the tarmac path, my sound, healthy blood would have soaked the earth and glued the grass into filthy densely matted tufts, as chocolate mats the hair of a child.

Coming out towards Central Park South, still noisy and bright in the night, I felt suddenly sick. Leaning against the park wall I threw up all the poisonous pork, and the port, and the buns irradiated by the stare of a Sick Mind.


There is a scientific theory to the effect that events can take place only within a strictly defined period of time. If we explain the incident in Central Park in this light, we shall have to say that I forcibly invaded a new period with an action which belonged to an earlier one, and that the incompatibility all but destroyed me. As I wandered through night-time New York in 1977, I had given off a different biological field, potent and threatening. The power of my present-day field, that of a writer from Paris, for all my daring and experience, had barely sufficed to deflect a Sick Mind. In 1977 the Minotaur would have been afraid to come close to me. One Minotaur to another Minotaur.

Translated by Arch Tait

Biographical and Explanatory Notes


EDWARD LIMONOV (real surname Savenko) was born in 1943 in Dzherzhinsk, the son of an NKVD officer. He was brought up in Saltovka, on the outskirts of Kharkov. He started working at the age of seventeen, as a steelworker, a fitter and on high-rise buildings. In 1965 he became involved in the Kharkov literary and artistic bohemian life. In 1967 he moved to Moscow, where collections of his poems were published in Samizdat. He became a member of the unofficial literary-artistic group 'Konkret' in 1971. He emigrated in 1974 and now lives in Paris and Moscow. He is politically active in Russia and publishes in anti-government publications.

Limonov's works have been translated into many languages. His best known works are «It's Me Eddie» (Ardis, Ann Arbor 1979; Engl. trans. by S. L. Campbell, Grove Press, New York 1983), «His Butler's Story» (first published in French in 1984; Engl. trans. by Judson Rosengrant, Grove Press, New York 1987 and Abacus, London 1989), «Diary of a Failure» (Index Publishers, New York 1982), «The Youth Savenko» (Sintaksis, Paris 1983), «The Torturer» (Chameleon, Jerusalem 1984), «The Young Rascal» (Sintaksis, Paris 1986).

«The Night Souper» has not previously been published.


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