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Happy Moscow

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Moscow in the 1930s is the consummate symbol of the Soviet paradise, a fairy-tale capital where, in Stalin's words, "life has become better, life has become merrier". In Happy Moscow Platonov exposes the gulf between this premature triumphal­ism and the harsh reality of low living standards and even lower expectations. For in Stalin's ideal city there is no longer a place for those who do not fit the bright, shining image of the new men and women of the future. The heroine, Moscow Chestnova, is an Everywoman, both virgin and whore, who flits from man to man, fascinated by the brave new world supposedly taking shape around her. In a variety of styles ranging from the grotesque, to the sentimental and the absurd, Platonov lays bare the ways in which language itself has been debased, even borrowing slogans from Stalin's own speeches for comic effect.

In an age of spin doctors and soundbites, this anarchic satire has as much resonance as ever.

153 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1991

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About the author

Andrei Platonov

251 books371 followers
Andrei Platonov, August 28, 1899 – January 5, 1951, was the pen name of Andrei Platonovich Klimentov, a Soviet author whose works anticipate existentialism. Although Platonov was a Communist, his works were banned in his own lifetime for their skeptical attitude toward collectivization and other Stalinist policies.

From 1918 through 1921, his most intensive period as a writer, he published dozens of poems (an anthology appeared in 1922), several stories, and hundreds of articles and essays, adopting in 1920 the Platonov pen-name by which he is best-known. With remarkably high energy and intellectual precocity he wrote confidently across a wide range of topics including literature, art, cultural life, science, philosophy, religion, education, politics, the civil war, foreign relations, economics, technology, famine, and land reclamation, amongst others.

His famous works include the novels The Foundation Pit and Chevengur.

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Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,468 reviews3,644 followers
May 24, 2019
It’s the greatest pity that translation can’t convey all the magical individuality of Andrei Platonov’s language and style but anyway rendering of Happy Moscow in English is excellent.
A dark man with a burning torch was running down the street on a bleak night in late autumn. The little girl saw him through a window of her home as she woke from a bleak dream. Then she heard a powerful shot from a rifle and a poor, sad cry – the man running with the torch had probably been killed. Soon afterwards came the sound of distant, repeated shots and of uproar from the nearby prison.

After the victory of the revolution, reality becomes irrational and everyone is wandering in it at random and aimlessly as if one has gone astray in some dreamland.
Story by a Girl with no Father or Mother about her Future Life: We are being taught to have minds, but minds are in heads, there is nothing on the outside. We must labour to live truthfully, I want to live the future life, I want there to be biscuits and jam and sweets and always to be able to walk by the trees in the fields. Otherwise I won’t live, I won’t feel like it. I want to live normally with happiness. There’s nothing to say in addition.

This is the way little Moscow sees the world of her chidhood.
Later Moscow ran away. She was brought back after a year and was held up to shame at a meeting of the whole school: how could she, a daughter of the Revolution, behave in such an unethical and undisciplined manner?
‘I’m not a daughter, I’m an orphan!’ Moscow answered.

Revolutions don’t turn people into the happy masters of the world. Revolutions make the homeless orphans out of them.
February 18, 2020
In the thirteen chapters of the edition I read, the narration shifts between the personal story of an orphan girl acquiring a new identity at the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917, and the stories of men she meets in the course of her life. The girl was very young when she arrived at the orphanage. Maybe in her previous life, her name was Olya (Olga) but having lost her family, she was left in a kind of vacuum where her past, her place of origin, her family, her old self were erased. So she acquired a new identity and name. At the orphanage she was named Moscow, given the name of the city (Moscow Ivanovna Chestnova).

All the characters in the book seem to materialise thus and then liquidate again through a series of transformations. There is not oneself for every person from beginning to end. There is no definite identity. In a political and social environment where there are predetermined rules for achieving a steady and smooth upward path to progress, evolution, celestial perfection, the heroes fall and descend and sink deeper and deeper into the deepest depths of themselves and the world that surrounds them.

H ευτυχισμένη Μόσχα του Andrei Platonov είναι στην πραγματικότητα ένα βιβλίο για τους τρόμους, τις αγωνίες, την απελπισία και την αποτυχία της ενηλικίωσης σε έναν κόσμο όπου οι άνθρωποι πρέπει είτε να συμμορφωθούν και να διαπλάσουν την προσωπικότητά τους σύμφωνα με τις αρχές και τις αξίες ενός πατερναλιστικού συστήματος είτε να απολέσουν τα πάντα, συμπεριλαμβανομένου του εαυτού τους, της ταυτότητάς τους, της σεξουαλικότητάς της, του φύλου ακόμα και τους σώματός τους.

Αλλά αυτό δεν ήταν το αρχικό συμπέρασμά μου, μετά από την πρώτη μου ανάγνωση. Αυτό το κατάλαβα μετά, όταν έπειτα από μια περαιτέρω διερεύνηση κατάλαβα την πραγματική υπόθεση του έργου.

Από τα σημειωματάρια του συγγραφέα φαίνεται πως δούλευε το συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο ήδη από το 1932 και μέσα σε ένα έτος είχε τελειώσει τα πρώτα έξι κεφάλαια. Στην πορεία, κάπου στα 1937 επιχείρησε να εντάξει το υλικό αυτό σε ένα μεγαλύτερο και πιο φιλόδοξο έργο, ένα ταξιδιωτικό μυθιστόρημα με τίτλο "Ταξίδι από το Λένινγκραντ στη Μόσχα". Τελικά κανένα από τα δύο σχέδιά του δεν ολοκληρώθηκαν. Ο γιος του, Platon Andreevich Platonov συνελήφθη και εξορίστηκε σε στρατόπεδο εργασίας στα 1938. (βλέπε Philip Ross Bullock, Andrei Platonov's Happy Moscow: Tolstoi, Stalin and the Soviet Self στο συγκεντρωτικό τόμο με γενικό τίτλο: Petrified Utopia: Happiness Soviet Style).

Αυτό που δεν καταλάβαινα στην αρχή και που χρειάστηκε μεγάλη προσπάθεια από μέρους μου για να το χωνέψω είναι πως ο Andrei Platonov είναι και δεν είναι κομμουνιστής. Όπως ακριβώς κάθε δημιουργικό πνεύμα μέσα σε ένα οποιοδήποτε οικονομικό, πολιτικό και κοινωνικό καθεστώς διαφωνεί και συμφωνεί, εγκρίνει ή κατακρίνει, αποδέχεται ή απορρίπτει όλα όσα παρατηρεί, τα φιλτράρει μέσα από τις ιδιαίτερες προσλαμβάνουσες που συνιστούν την προσωπική του κοσμοθεωρία και καταλήγει να εκφράζει την προσωπική του αλήθεια, έτσι και ο Platonov έχει την δικές του επιρροές, εμπειρίες, απόψεις, ιδέες και αυτές επικοινωνεί μέσα από τα γραπτά του.

Φερέφωνο του Πατερούλη δεν είναι, ωστόσο μετέχει του Σταλινικού Πατερναλισμού. Ξεκινάει σαν καλό παιδί με αγνές σοσιαλιστικές ρεαλιστικές προθέσεις αλλά η ιδιοφυΐα του τον παρασύρει σε ένα αλλόκοτο και γοητευτικό είδος σοσιαλιστικού σουρεαλισμού, με επιρροές από Ρώσους χριστιανούς φιλοσόφους, μοντερνιστές, κομμουνιστές, δημοσιογράφους και δημοσίους υπαλλήλους, τρελούς επιστήμονες της εποχής του που πασχίζουν να βρουν μαγικά φίλτρα μακροζωίας, καθημερινούς ανθρώπους της πόλης και της επαρχίας, αναμνήσεις από ένα ευτυχισμένο προκομμουνιστικό παρελθόν, τους Ρώσους κλασικούς και τις κανοναρχήσεις τον Στάλιν και των λοιπών συντρόφων.

Ο Platonov είναι ευτυχισμενοδυστυχισμένος. Κι αυτή την ευτυχισμενοδυστυχία της εποχής του αναπαριστά με εξαιρετική διαύγεια μέσα στο κείμενό του. Στα δεκατρία κεφάλαια της έκδοσης που διάβασα η διήγηση εναλλάσσεται ανάμεσα στην προσωπική ιστορία ενός ορφανού κοριτσιού που αποκτά την υπόστασή της κατά τη ξέσπασμα της Ρώσικης επανάστασης, στα 1917, και τις ιστορίες των ανδρών που συναντάει στην πορεία της ζωής της. Το κορίτσι ήταν πολύ μικρό όταν έφτασε στο ορφανοτροφείο. Ίσως στην προηγούμενη ζωή της το όνομά της να ήταν Olya (Όλγα) αλλά χάνοντας την οικογένειά της, απέμεινε σε ένα είδος κενού, όπου το παρελθόν της, ο τόπος καταγωγής της, η οικογένειά της, ο παλιός της εαυτός έσβησαν. Έτσι απέκτησε νέα ταυτότητα και όνομα. Στο ορφανοτροφείο την ονόμασαν Μόσχα, δίνοντάς της το όνομα της πόλης (Moscow Ivanovna Chestnova).

Όλοι και όλα στα έργα του Platonov φαίνεται πως κάπως έτσι υλοποιούνται κι έπειτα στην πορεία ρευστοποιούνται, και ξανά από την αρχή, μέσα από μια σειρά μεταμορφώσεων. Δεν υπάρχει ένας εαυτός για τον κάθε άνθρωπο από την αρχή ως το τέλος. Δεν υπάρχει μία καθορισμένη και προσδιορισμένη ταυτότητα. Μέσα σε ένα πολιτικό και κοινωνικό περιβάλλον όπου υπάρχουν προκαθορισμένοι κανόνες προκειμένου να επιτευχθεί μια σταθερή και ομαλή ανοδική πορεία προς την πρόοδο, την εξέλιξη, την ουράνια τελειότητα, οι ήρωες πέφτουν και κατεβαίνουν επίπεδα και βυθίζονται ολοένα και περισσότερο στο χθόνιο τμήμα του εαυτού και του κόσμου που τους περιβάλλει.

Όσο πιο ψηλά στοχεύουν τόσο πιο χαμηλά καταλήγουν. Και η ιστορία της Μόσχας είναι ο συνδετικός τους κρίκος. Αυτή τους εμπνέει, με το κενό που συνιστά η ύπαρξή της από την αρχή ως τέλος, προκειμένου να βαδίσουν προς ένα Πουθενά, το οποίο βρίσκεται στο τέλος κάθε Ουτοπίας. Το απόλυτο κενό.

Η Μόσχα σαν προσωπικότητα έχει άγνοια κινδύνου, ένα παιδικό τραύμα που συνδέεται με ένα περιστατικό κατά το ξέσπασμα της επανάστασης και έναν προορισμό τον οποίο περιγράφει συνοπτικά και με δικά της λόγια μέσα στην σχολική της έκθεση:

"Ιστορία ενός Κοριτσιού χωρίς Πατέρα ή Μητέρα, σχετικά με τη Μέλλουσα Ζωή της. Μας διδάσκουν να έχουμε μυαλό, αλλά τα μυαλά είναι μέσα στο κεφάλι, δεν υπάρχει τίποτα απέξω. Πρέπει να δουλεύουμε για να ζούμε αληθινά. Θέλω να ζήσω τη Μέλλουσα Ζωή, θέλω να έχω μπισκότα και μαρμελάδα και γλυκά και πάντα να μπορώ να περπατώ κάτω από τα δέντρα στα λιβάδια. Διαφορετικά δεν θα ζω, δεν θα μου κάνει αίσθηση. Θέλω να ζω κανονικά με ευτυχία. Δεν έχω προσθέσω κάτι παραπάνω".

Η μικρή Αναστασία της "Εκσκαφής" λοιπόν γίνεται η ενήλικη Μόσχα της "Ευτυχισμένης Μόσχας". Γίνεται ένα σύμβολο λόγω της κενότητάς της, ένας χώρος όπου οι άνδρες μπορούν να δράσουν για να συμβάλλουν στην πραγμάτωση της επερχόμενης ευτυχίας, εμπνέονται και δημιουργούν, αναζητούν λύσεις στα αιώνια προβλήματά τους προκειμένου να ενσαρκώσουν το ιδεώδες του τέλειου σοβιετικού πολίτη. Η Μόσχα πράγματι έχει ένα μυαλό, έναν υλικό μηχανισμό προκειμένου να απολαμβάνει την ηδονή της σεξουαλικής πράξης, αλλά το καθεστώς δεν προνόησε να της διδάξει να έχει και καρδιά. Για να μπορέσει να απολαύσει και την ευτυχία που προκύπτει από την αγάπη. Η Μόσχα μπορεί να τολμά. Να υπηρετεί. Να είναι πρώτη στο καθήκον. Αλλά η Μόσχα δεν μπορεί να αισθανθεί τίποτα πέρα και έξω από τις μηχανιστικές λειτουργίες του σώματός της:

"Μόλις κατάλαβα γιατί οι ζωές των ανθρώπων είναι τόσο χάλια. Είναι γιατί είναι αδύνατο να ενωθούμε μέσα από την αγάπη. Το προσπάθησα πολλές φορές αλλά τίποτα δεν βγαίνει από όλο αυτό, τίποτα πέρα από λίγη ευχαρίστηση [....] Η αγάπη δεν μπορεί να είναι κομμουνισμός. Το σκέφτηκα και το ξανασκέφτηκα και συνειδητοποίησα πως απλώς δεν γίνεται. Αλλά είναι σαν να τρως φαγητό - είναι απλώς μια ανάγκη, δεν είναι αυτό που μετράει στη ζωή".

Κι αυτά τα λόγια τα λέει η Μόσχα στον άνδρα που την αγαπάει, τον Sartorius. Ο οποίος εξαιτίας της αγάπης του προσπαθεί να βρει το μυστικό της τέλεια κομμουνιστικής αγάπης. Που κατά μία έννοια δεν διαφέρει από την τέλεια χριστιανική αγάπη. Ή την τέλεια θεϊκή αγάπη:

"Τα τέλεια ανθρώπινα συναισθήματα βρίσκονται στο να κατανοήσουμε ένα άλλο ανθρώπινο πλάσμα, να μοιραστούμε τις αγωνίες και τις χαρές μιας δεύτερης άγνωστης ζωής και η αγάπη που πηγάζει από τα αγκαλιάσματα προκαλεί μονάχα μια παιδιάστικη ευχαρίστηση, και δεν λύνει το πρόβλημα του πώς θα φέρουμε τους ανθρώπους μέσα στο μυστήριο μια κοινής, μοιρασμένης ύπαρξης".

Η ύλη που αναζητά το πνεύμα. Αν η Μόσχα ενσαρκώνει το υλιστικό πνεύμα της εποχής της, ο Platonov από την πλευρά του αναζητεί ένα είδος εσχατολογικού υλισμού, μια τέλεια ένωση ύλης και πνεύματος προκειμένου να εδραιωθεί μια ιδανική ευτυχία. Και φυσικά επειδή δεν έχει που να στηριχθεί καταφεύγει σε απόψεις που απηχούν την χριστιανική φιλοσοφία. Πέρα όμως από τα όποια ιδεολογικά άγχη του συγγραφέα είναι το σώμα της Μόσχας με όλα τα υλικά του στοιχεία που εκκινούν τις πνευματικές αναζητήσεις των ηρώων του. Αυτό το σώμα που σταδιακά κατασπαράσσεται προκειμένου να θρέψει με την θρεπτική του ουσία τους άλλους και να τους αναμορφώσει ως καλούς και ιδανικούς πολίτες. Από την ίδια δεν απομένει τίποτα στο τέλος αλλά συνεχίζει η ίδια να υπάρχει μέσα στους άλλους.

Το μυθιστόρημα παραμένει ημιτελές αλλά το τέλος του σώζεται μέσα στις σημειώσεις του συγγραφέα από τα σημειωματάρια του 1935:

"Για την "Ευτυχισμένη Μόσχα" ο Sartorius στο τέλος των μεταμορφώσεών του πείθεται πως προκειμένου να εκπληρώσει το έργο της ζωής του και να ικανοποιήσει το δικό του αίσθημα για περισσότερη αγάπη πρέπει να γίνει η Μόσχα, και με αυτήν την τελική μετενσάρκωση σε εκείνη, τη γυναίκα, τη σωτήρα του κόσμου, τελειώνει και ο ίδιος και το μυθιστόρημα" (βλέπε Keith A. Livers, Constructing the Stalinist Body σελ. 43).
Profile Image for E. G..
1,112 reviews684 followers
September 10, 2018
Introduction to 'Happy Moscow', by Robert Chandler
--Happy Moscow

Around 'Happy Moscow', by Robert Chandler
--The Moscow Violin
--On the First Socialist Tragedy
--Father (A Screenplay)
--Love for the Motherland or, The Sparrow's Journey

The Text and the Translation
Profile Image for Eric.
570 reviews1,015 followers
November 13, 2007
Tolstaya says that Platonov writes like an alien observing humankind--but that doesn't begin to suggest how weird he can be. 'Enstrangement' is no mere literary device with Platonov, it's his entire style. He really takes it to the edge; his poker-faced laconism sounds at once childishly naive and mockingly ironic. And the story's action is infinitely picaresque, all errant digression: just the comings, goings and hare-brained utopian daydreams of Moscow and her various suitors and orbiters; characters fade in and fade out; the last twenty or so pages tracks one of the suitors as he forgets about Moscow, changes his identity and moves in with a widow who beats him. The introduction says Platonov left this novel unfinished, but you'd never know that if they didn't tell you--how would Platonov have 'finished' a totally non-linear story? This is the only novel I've read that is truly 'plotless.' An extreme stylistic experiment.

I like the brand of 'surrealism' Platonov practiced and then handed down to Tolstaya. His point of view is so fancifully detached, so defamiliarized that he doesn't have to resort to self-consciously fantastic incidents in order to create grotesque or monstrous impressions. All the characters in 'Happy Moscow' obey physical laws and behave fairly plausibly in the course of their routines; Platonov simply orients us so that we see how deeply strange those routines can appear. Platonov looking at a street musician or a flea market is really a kind of revelation.
Profile Image for Maria.
43 reviews21 followers
January 4, 2020
Συγκλονιστική, πολυεπίπεδη γραφή και μεταφραστικός άθλος της Ελένης Μπακοπούλου. Εξαιρετικό και το επίμετρο του Γιόζεφ Μπρόντσκι.
Profile Image for Ben Winch.
Author 4 books359 followers
July 29, 2022
Platonov. Some big claims have been made for this fella, and I can’t say as I can credit them. Not being Russian, I don’t know, he may have revolutionised Russian prose; all I can say is I don’t see his translators revolutionising English. As to his status as satirist, hell, that may be lost in translation too; myself, I haven’t laughed nor wryly grinned at one of his works, and when in Happy Moscow the protagonist says ‘Love cannot be communism’ I read it in the only way I know how, without inflection, because frankly it just baffles me, whatever its purpose. Thing is, I’m not even convinced Platonov knows how he means it. Happy Moscow – its translators agree – seems to start as an attempt to pacify the Soviet sensors then evolves into so-called satire. In other words, I’m not convinced Platonov is in control of his material. And therefore, to me, comparisons to Beckett are spurious, because while the events of his prose often careened wildly, Beckett was always scrupulously in control of his tone.

Confession: it may be my tastes are too staid for Platonov, that I value ‘control’ too highly, that wild caprice, unless justified/framed/contrived, is too much for me. In his perceptive review of The Foundation Pit (a book I put aside after thirty pages) Eddie Watkins admits the possibility of Platonov’s being unaware of his own effects (including humour), but praises him regardless, and manages to laugh at what I could only find numbing. In his passionate review of Happy Moscow, Chuck Lo Presti compares Platonov to post-punk band Flipper, finding analogy in their discord for prose which, to me, seemed often plain unmusical. Not always, it’s true; the opening, for example, pretty much sold it to me:

A dark man with a burning torch was running down the street into a boring night of late autumn. The little girl saw him through a window of her home as she awoke from a boring dream. Then she heard the powerful shot of a rifle and a poor, sad cry – the man running with the torch had probably been killed. Soon after this came many distant shots and a din of people in the neighbouring prison... The little girl went to sleep and forgot everything she saw later in other days: she was too small, and the memory and mind of early childhood were overgrown in her body forever by subsequent life. But until her late years a nameless man would unexpectedly and sadly rise up in her and run – in the pale light of memory – and perish once again in the dark of the past, in the heart of a grown-up child.

Though even here there’s that strange insistence on the vague adjective ‘boring’, the wan ‘powerful’ for the rifle-shot, and the still more wan ‘pale light of memory’. ‘Platonov is not a showy writer,’ say the translators, though also: ‘Platonov used language more creatively than even the greatest of the great Russian poets who were his contemporaries’.

And then there’s ‘Soul’, the novella which introduced me to Platonov, though I read it in an earlier, maybe oversimplified translation as ‘Dzhan’ in The Fierce and Beautiful World . This was brutal, bleak, heartwrenching, but not ‘experimental’ in any way I could fathom, and I was underwhelmed (bewildered?) by Tatyana Tolstoyana’s pronouncements in the introduction: ‘At times it seems that Platonov’s work was written by a creature from outer space forced to live among us.’ Or: ‘Reading a Platonov story, the reader encounters a range of sensations for which he has no sensory organ – and this organ may or may not develop in the process of reading.’ Clearly, my Platonov-specific sensory organ is underdeveloped. But I wonder whether the sheer weight of hype crushes the prosaic reality of his translations into English. Maybe his translators are trying too hard? Maybe the lack of flourishes in ‘Dzhan’ made the transference of story and meaning more direct? ‘He uses words awkwardly, incorrectly, he puts them in the wrong place in the sentence, where they don’t go,’ says Tolstayana. She’s on the money. Maybe my problem is just I don’t know if he knows where they do go. You gotta know the rules before you can break ’em, after all. Then again, Flipper weren’t virtuosos.
Profile Image for Caroline.
781 reviews233 followers
March 2, 2013
Stunning writing, in the sense of reader recognizing authorial genius but also stunning in the sense of knocking your sense of a sentence awry over and over again in each paragraph. This is a slow read first because you have to pause and reread almost every sentence two or three times, then wrestle with it, then consider it, and then marvel.

Highest kudos of course to the translation as well. The Chandlers found a believable, ardent yet mature voice for the socialist aspirations of Platonov’s Happy Moscow characters. Their notes are very helpful, as many characters, situations and passing remarks are based on actual people and events. Without Russian I can’t tell if the tone captures Platonov’s writing, but I am willing to take the prizes on faith.

This is a story of youth sold on the new Soviet dream. The new technocrats are committed to loving and helping everyone they see, and revising the course of history. They are also dedicating their lives to totally crazy and scientifically impossible projects. At the same time they are all in love with the woman-city Moscow who is vibrant, earthy, daring, physical. They are curiously intent on becoming everyone else they see on the street in order to understand them and to live a full life; one single person’s experience and body is not enough to fill a lifetime. There is a very interesting commitment to patience in getting the social-benefit results they are working for, as well the more-expected relinquishment of personal desires in favor of community needs. And always, deep Russian soulful unhappiness.

But the new course of history requires a new kind of human being, and there is a deep underlying pessimism, I think, about whether this is possible, even if the State can find the necessary ‘engineers of human souls’ for the job.

But mostly it is the language and the observations about people and life that are compelling. In looking for great quotes the impossibility of choosing nearly leads to transcribing the whole darn thing. (Note: Happy Moscow itself is about 115 pages; the rest of the NYRB edition is a short alternate version, and related stories/screenplay and notes on translating Platonov by Robert Chandler. Also, as another reviewer noted, the short On the First Socialist Tragedy on pages 153-158 is excellent--on the relationship between nature and technology, among other things.)

Selected sentences:

The water pacified him but he immediately realized how much a human being is still a feebly constructed, homespun being--no more than a vague embryo and blueprint of something more authentic--and how much work must be done to unfurl from this enbryo the flying, higher image buried in our dream. [amazing writing, just as amazing translating]

Usually though Sartorius did not dream at all, not possessing the capacity for empty experience.

Though inhibited by sleep, their concern for a definite structuring of the world still gnawed at their consciences, and from time to time they muttered words, to drive anxiety out of themselves.

The Republic was now sated-glutted--with platform balances, and the entire arithmetical computation of future historical time had been worked out, so that fate should become free of danger and never come point-blank against despair.
Profile Image for Anna.
1,742 reviews677 followers
November 30, 2016
This is a beautiful and rather mysterious novel that reads like a prose poem. It vaguely follows a woman called Moscow, who personifies all women, or perhaps the city of Moscow, or perhaps socialism, or even all three at once. This is not a book to read for character development, but for philosophical musings and delicate satire. The delicacy of the satire is naturally a function of being written in the USSR during the 1930s. Having read The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia recently throws a frightening light on ‘Happy Moscow’ and the recurrent dissatisfaction of its characters. At the time, Stalinist purges led to untold thousands of arrests, jailings, and arbitrary executions. Platonov is very careful not to criticise the regime on any remotely literal level, he seems instead to examine the paradoxical effects of its stated ideology on individual states of mind. I found the introduction (to be read last, as ever) explained some of the references and themes very helpfully, including some specific scenes that parody speeches by Stalin. ‘Happy Moscow’ wasn’t published until 1991 and is unfinished, another fascinating glimpse into the inner life of those repressed in Stalinist Russia. Although I wouldn’t say that I properly understood it, I enjoyed the juxtaposed yearnings for collectivity and individual happiness, the theme of reinvention and progress, and the untranslatable word ‘toska’. Platonov has a unique and rather playful way with words, which comes through well in this translation. A few examples that struck me, all gently poking fun at the Soviet utopia:

’”My skin always feels cold afterwards,” said Moscow. “Love cannot be communism. I’ve thought and I’ve realised it just can’t. One probably should love - and I will love. But it’s like eating food - it’s just a necessity, it’s not what matters in life.”’

‘Summer came to an end and the rains began, as long and as dismal as in early childhood in the days of capitalism.’

‘Sometimes Komyagin would think to himself: “In a month or two I shall begin a new life - I’ll finish the paintings and poems; I’ll thoroughly rethink my world outlook; I’ll get my documents in order; I’ll find a solid job and become an exemplary shock-worker; I’ll fall in love with some woman and she can be my wife and a friend to me.” It was his hope that in a month or two something special would happen to time, that it would stop for a moment and take him up in its movement, but the years passed by his window without any pause or fortunate event. And he would get up from his bed and go out, as a member of the volunteer militia, to exact fines from the general public at the sites where it most tended to accumulate.’
Profile Image for Banu Yıldıran Genç.
Author 1 book786 followers
April 17, 2018
stalin döneminde geçen roman moskova adındaki genç kadına odaklansa da bir yerden sonra moskova'yı anlatmayı bırakıyor platonov. aslında kendi gençliklerinden, hayatlarından toplum uğruna vazgeçmiş, tabii ki o dönemki eğitim vs sebebiyle doğrusunun bu olduğunu düşünen, bilime, faydaya inanan bir grup gencin hiçbir zaman kaçamadıkları mutsuzluklarının romanı bu.
her şey iyi olsun diye uğraşırken satır aralarında anlatılan sefalet, hele pazarda poğaça çalan bir adamın dayak yerken bile poğaçayı hızlıca ağzına tıkıştırmasının betimlenmesi var ki... işte platonov'un romanlarının niçin yıllarca yasaklandığını anlıyor insan.
evet anlattıkları çok değerli ama sanki üstünde pek çalışılmamış, yarım kalmış bir roman mutmu moskova. karakterlerin işlenişi, olayların hızı ve karmaşası bana fikir açısından değil ama edebi açıdan bağları gevşek bir roman gibi geldi.
Profile Image for Papatya ŞENOL.
Author 1 book60 followers
December 12, 2016
moskova, dünya edebiyatındaki en özel kadın karakterlerden biri bence. hayran oldum tek kelimeyle.
idealist stalinci döneme karşı toplumsal gerçekliği böyle şiirsel bir dille yazan platonov daha çok okunmalı, daha çok bilinmeli. platonov'un diğer eserleriyle birlikte ancak 1991'den sonra ortaya çıkabilen bir roman "mutlu moskova". kompozisyon yazmak için bile olsa inekler ve gelecek arasında geleceği seçen genç bir kadının mutluluk arayışı temelde; ama doğaya, bilime ve insana övgü niteliğinde. moskova'nın hayatına giren ve çıkan veya kenarından geçen insanlara dayanarak toplumsal bir biçem oluşturuyor platonov. emeğin, umudun ve terin birleşiminden edebi bir eser çıkıyor ortaya. rus edebiyatı hep bir adım önde. şiddetle tavsiye ederim.
Profile Image for Alan.
Author 11 books167 followers
October 27, 2017
Bizzare. Review coming..
should have read the intro before reading, then I would have taken aboard the reason for some of book's more ludicrous passages. Moscow is a woman not a city (although everything has double triple meanings here) and she is a parachutist (at the start anyway), and on one jump she lights a cigarette with a whole box of matches causing her straps to catch fire and she crashes to the ground. Apparently this is a reference to a Stalin speech. Thus I missed many nuances. The book is about language as a force for change, about sloganeering and incantation. During the 30s Stalin wanted to present Soviet life as happy and its citizens as merry consumers, and this book punctures that propaganda in an oblique way. It is unfinished.
Profile Image for Calzean.
2,612 reviews1 follower
March 17, 2017
Obviously a lot of work went into writing, publishing and translating this work. It has it's moments - Happy Moscow should have been called Unlucky Moscow as she experiences a series of personnel disasters. The male characters represent Russian science, research and medicine. There is a lot about hope and belief in the promised miracles of communism. But I just found the writing really hard to follow, the various parts of the story sometime just did not seem connected and in the end I was happy calzean to see the last of Happy Moscow.
Profile Image for Metin Yılmaz.
1,030 reviews104 followers
June 5, 2017
Bir Can gibi değildi elbet ama okunmaz da değildi. Yazarın tüm kitaplarında farklı bir anlatım biçimi var ya da çeviriler arasında farklılıklar var.
Profile Image for Chuck LoPresti.
164 reviews79 followers
November 29, 2012
Absolutely stunning writer meets top translation for nothing less than classic results. It's obvious that Platonov ranks with the greatest of Soviet Era writers. His style is stark, lyrical and fairly simple to read and understand but it will take a poet or musician's ear to really appreciate the beauty of his craft. Like Walser's almost non-literary clairvoyance - Platonov scratches itches other writers fail to reach. Appreciating him is akin to understanding the monolithic impact of well-crafted post-punk in the 80s. In the midst of prog excess - bands like Flipper went full intuitive focus and produced music that initially is jarring and a bit tough to appreciate but those that stayed focused started to realize the feral efficacy of this direct style. Strip away the non-essentials and sheer visceral impact remains - that's Platonov. Fiercely intelligent, keenly observant and tuned to fine pitch - Platonov's recently discovered Happy Moscow should supplant Foundation Pit as his most essential work. It’s also important to understand that the Soviet-era tag isn’t merely a cultural signifier but a central point of focus. If it was to be banned it was in no way for a lack of love for a homeland. However Happy Moscow’s efficacy in defining the Soviet condition is in equal parts radiant and individual that Platonov as compliant socialist seems to be in stark juxtaposition to the individuality mandated by his voice. On more than isolated occasions it’s obvious that Platonov, despite his will to promote the Soviet state is aware that his vision is only proletariat by concerted effort to constrain a wildly individuated voice. In that aspect Platonov is akin to Mayakovsky in their likewise obvious negotiation of artist as sanctioned agent and human geared to offer more than a state could possibly ask in sublimation. So it’s a resonance of individual and cultural operative that informs so many Soviet era classics: Sologub’s Petty Demon, Zoschenko’s Bees and People, Olesha’s Envy, Grin and so many more unique talents and is probably most apparent in Platonov. “Wind and the movement of legs always tune the consciousness in your head and develop strength in the heart.” If Platonov would have excluded a beauty informed by nature more than organization he might have avoided Stalin’s wrath – but in allowing the most illuminating force to being only understood in musical terms he placed efficacy of creative will outside the state – something Stalin could have only understood as an affront. The additional stories in this collection are mainly component elements that were used to comprise Happy Moscow. If you're pressed for time - these stories are non-essential for the most part - but Happy Moscow will probably never leave your memory. Achingly powerful, unsettling and fiercely creative - Happy Moscow ranks with any modern Soviet era lit and renders the better part of it less essential. Easily the best writer I've discovered since Kosztolanyi. The NYRB book design is awesome as always, great cover painting, great article from the translator and copious explanatory notes. Mandatory.
Profile Image for El.
1,355 reviews502 followers
April 14, 2017
The time for me to read Russian literature is in December. Possibly January. February at the latest. Definitely not April.

This is the first of anything I have read by Andrei Platanov, a Soviet Russian writer. I picked this book up, of course, because it's a NYRB edition and I have a thing for NYRB edition covers. I didn't realize until I started reading that Happy Moscow is an unfinished novel, unpubished before his death, and that the rest of this edition includes some other shorter pieces of his, including a screenplay.

Because it's not the right time of the year for me to fully appreciate Russian literature, I struggled a bit with this. Happy Moscow itself is fairly decent. Moscow, in this story, is a young woman who grew up during the October Revolution. She's an orphan, and a parachutist, and I will admit right now that I recently read another book that starts out with a parachutist-of-sorts floating down from a plane (WATERSHED), and I was so busy wondering if Happy Moscow was some sort of inspiration for that character that I kept waiting for sex to be mentioned. (Sex was not mentioned.)

Moscow is trying to find happiness, hence the title, as are we all, but Platanov writes a heavy-handed metaphorical story that would have benefited with some nuance at the very least. The story begins with her childhood and follows her as she grows up, but there's no real plot here. It's a meandering sort of story, but not poorly written. Everything relates to the Soviet state, in some way, and even with a pedestrian knowledge of Russian history, I felt everything, every word and sentence structure, was meant to point out some power struggle, some political action, some cultural drama.

Moving on after Happy Moscow and reading the other short pieces included in this edition, specifically Father, Platonov's screenplay included, I realized that all of his writing was like that. There's nothing inherently wrong in authors pointedly writing, but sometimes it comes across as too intentional. Forced.

As a whole, this is a fine little collection, and it's not boring to read. But, again, this is just not the right time of the year for me. I should have realized that sooner, and now I'm also struggling through Dead Souls for the same reason. I still, however, want to read Platonov's The Foundation Pit, even though I imagine it will be just as much about what was happening in Platonov's world as Happy Moscow.
Profile Image for Joy.
398 reviews61 followers
March 29, 2019
Nerede güzelim Can, nerede bu. Pek heyecanladıramadı bu kitap beni maalesef.
Profile Image for Aslıhan Çelik Tufan.
646 reviews168 followers
February 15, 2020
Dr. Jivago sonrası okuduğum için midir bilemiyorum ama duygusunu tam olarak geçirdi bana.
Genel olarak yazarın Can kitabı daha fazla beğenilmiş, onu da okuduktan sonra yorumumu güncellerim.
Kitabın ismi yanıltmasın, Moskova Esasen ana karakterimiz.hikaye onun etrafında şekilleniyor. Yaşanılan acılar bence o zamandan beri çok canlı. Günümüz Rus edebiyatında bu konular çok işleniyor mu vakıf değilim ama Ekim devrimi ile sovyet Rusya sının hesaplaşmasını yapmaya devam etmeliler bence!
Keyifli okumalar!
Profile Image for 0rkun.
130 reviews28 followers
August 3, 2018
Mutlu Moskova, Andrey Platonov'un Sovyetler Birliği zamanında yazdığı ve aynı dönemde Josef Stalin tarafından yasaklanan bir kitabı. İleri dönemde Rusya'da tekrardan basılan bu kitap okuyucularla buluşmuş.
Kitap aslında 3 kişinin etrafında dönüyor. Bu 3 kişinin tam ortasında ise kitaba da ismini veren Moskova Çestnova var.
Moskova henüz çok küçüktür. Uyku sersemi bir haldeyken pencereden dışarı bakan Moskova, elinde meşaleyle koşan bir adam görür. Ardından duyduğu silah sesiyle birlikte meşale karanlığa gömülüp gider. Bu sahne Moskova'nın zihninden hiç silinmez, yıllarda silinmiş gibi görünse de. Bolşevik İhtilali başlamıştır. Moskova ailesini çok küçük yaşta kaybetmiş, kendisini bir yetimhanede bulunmuştur. Adını bile hatırlamayan bu kıza Moskova ismi verilir. Moskova büyümeye başlar ve içi içine sığmaz. Hayata tutunmak için elinden geleni yapar, hep arayış içindedir. Aşkın peşinde de koşan Moskova'nın yolu Sartorius, Komyagin ve Sambikin ile kesişir. Hepsinin hayatına dokunmayı başarabilen Moskova aradığı aşkı asla bulamaz. Devrim yaşanan bu topraklardaki insanların hayatlarına ışık tutan Platonov'un bu kitabına çok da ısınamadım. Yer yer kitaptan koptuğum oldu. Yine de kitabın can alıcı yerlerinde oldukça etkilendim. Kötü bir kitap asla değil ama bir şeyler eksikti. Biraz sıkıcı bir kitap olsa da anlam arayışı temalı olması açısından kitap okumaya değerdi.
Profile Image for Neglectedbooks.
27 reviews29 followers
September 14, 2008
A beautifully-written, somewhat dream-like novel of characters who've fallen by the wayside in the Soviet state. Platonov can manage to touch the stars in the same sentence as he grabs up a handful of shit.
Profile Image for Leylak Dalı.
540 reviews126 followers
February 6, 2017
Ne bileyim, okudum ve Moskova'yı pek de mutlu bulmadım. Ve kitap bitmemiş gibi sanki.
Profile Image for Ibrahim Niftiyev.
61 reviews37 followers
December 3, 2022
Onunla ilgili büyük beklentilerime rağmen Platonov ile ilk toplantımdan etkilenmedim. Anlatı canlı değildi, ama belki de bu yazar tarafından bir şeyler okuyacağım.
Profile Image for Michael.
837 reviews615 followers
December 9, 2016
“Life has become better, comrades, life has become merrier” – Joseph Stalin

Happy Moscow was an unfinished novel by Andrei Platonov, finally published in 1991 and yet it still became one of his greatest works. It is believed that Platonov started the novel in about 1932 but abandoned it a few years later. Happy Moscow tells the story of Moscow (or Moskva) Ivanovna Chestnova, an orphan trying to make her way through life. Named after the Soviet capital, Moscow becomes a metaphor for life under Stalin.

The story of a woman’s struggle through life is an obvious metaphor for Russia’s own journey starting with the revolution. Starting off with a clear and ascending life however as the years go by, life becomes more and more complex. Dreams turn into distant memories as responsibility and bumps along the way happen. While Andrei Platonov was a communist, his novels were often banned due to his criticism towards Stalin regarding collectivization and other policies. It is easy to see why Platonov would leave this novel unfinished out of fear of the consequences.

This anarchic satire is very odd to read, it is fragmented due to it being left unfinished and Platonov’s experimental or avant-garde style. There is a complex struggle that comes out in the writing, making this more of the writings of a man trying to understand his own views. This alienating struggle that unfolds on the page is what made Happy Moscow an interesting read because Platonov’s writing style was a struggle. Platonov is a philosopher, using his writing to explore his ideas, often drawing on Marxism or Leninism while criticising Stalinism. Stalin obviously did not see Platonov as having any worth in literature but his feelings were some what complex, calling him a “fool, idiot, scoundrel” and then “a prophet, a genius” in the same meeting. Platonov was eventually arrested and exiled to a labour camp as an anti-communist (anti-Stalinist would be a better suited term).

The book I read contained a few short stories and a screenplay with the unfinished novel Happy Moscow. These stories include ‘The Moscow Violin’, ‘On The First Socialist Tragedy’, ‘Father’ and ‘Love for the Motherland’. While all had their own themes they all seem to have similar threads that tie them back to Happy Moscow. Andrei Platonov was a difficult author to tackle, but I am glad I did it. There are a few more of his novels I would like to get to including The Foundation Pit but I think they will be in the distant future

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://www.knowledgelost.org/book-rev...
Profile Image for Mesut Bostancı.
231 reviews29 followers
October 22, 2013
When you are young and you read Lenin by yourself in 2013, without any of the messy disadvantages of having experienced actually existing socialism, it can all be very exciting. Yeah! Fuck Parliamentarianism, yeah! you need a vanguard party, yeah! banks are strangling the world. From here in America 20 years after the fall of the USSR, when Thatcher's no alternative universe if the only one we know, the ideas have a radical purity about them. ( I recently stayed with a man from Russia who talked about how Leninist orthodoxy always existed as an oppositional protestant-type position in the Soviet Union, claimed by everyone as that which had been deviated from, well so I guess a very Salafi-type position, claimed by the Soviet State in regards to Yugoslavia and China, claimed by small groups in whispers during the Soviet era, and by every Soviet leader who looked disapprovingly at his predecessor). We don't remember the Stasi, only structural adjustment. This book serves as an honest historical window onto the same naive optimism of what it felt like to live there in the early days, I mean the subjective sense of optimism for a young person who hadn't yet had all of the messy revelation about the show trials and Gulags or the later stagnation. When being a soviet citizen felt like a privileged position in an otherwise down-trodden World. When it felt like this: http://bit.ly/15UPYnN
And as the optimism and youthfulness fade over the course of the book itself, you feel like you can trust it as having been genuine since neither one of those things, by their very nature, are meant to last. The way that this done in the book through the characters and the descriptions is amazing and subtle enough to not feel like a corny allegory. The optimism isn't betrayed and revealed to have been false. A young and beautiful woman wasn't secretly ugly the entire time when, inevitably, she eventually becomes old. I guess the lesson of the book is that we shouldn't be so shallow in our admiration of Socialism to love her just for her looks.

The book is full of allusions with great footnotes, and it is a masterful translation by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler.
Profile Image for Andreea.
189 reviews112 followers
April 5, 2017
Nice, at times thought-provoking writing style.
All main characters are stuck in this deep sadness with no reason. Beautifully described character reflections. ("Si oamenii care cresc sunt altii, minunati, numi eu raman cel de altadata pentru ca m-am nascut demult si inca nu am reusit sa ma dezobisnuiesc de mine.") They count on love to save them from life.
Was written between 1932-1936. The written time is not mentioned but Moscow's maturity years must be around that time.
How different is this book from "Alltag in Moskow", which happens about 40 years later but in the same context (and, well, during those times it seems to me that not that much changed in 40 years...). Platonov seems to continue Dostoevsky's tradition, focusing mostly on "les miserables" of society.
"...se retrageau logodnicii cu logodnicele si pana dimineata nu inchideau ochii, aflandu-se mai jos de stele si mai sus de multimea oamenilor."
"O invita aproape fiecare ins din public, gasind la ea ceva pierdut in el insusi."
"Sartorius intelese ca dragostea provine din saracia universala, inca nelichidata, a societatii, cand n-ai unde te duce, spre un destin mai bun, superior."
(citate in romana din editia 2003, editura Polirom "Moscova cea fericita si alte nuvele")

Characters: Moscow, Bojko (her saviour) Sartorius (the engineeer), Sambikin (the surgeon), Komiaghin (cel care e "doar implicat in viata")
Profile Image for Demet.
39 reviews6 followers
July 3, 2017
platonovun turkceye cevrilmis olan ve Metis yayinlarindan cikan butun kitaplarini Mutlu Moskova ile tamamlamis oldum. Platanovun edebi dili, sosyalizme olan inancini ve derdini anlatisi gercekten cok degerli ve butun eserlerini de okumak gerek. butun Platanov eserleri arasinda 'turkceye cevrilmis' en sevdigim, hikayedeki derdi cok derin olarak benimsedigim "Can" oldu; "Can" gercekten bambaska bir roman, bir bas yapit.

mutlu moskova'ya gelecek olursak; bu eser Platanovun kismen de olsa aralarda kadinlik, kadin olma gibi dertlere dokunmasinin yani sira her bir karakterin varolusu ayri ayri sorguladigi, bas karakterimizin adinin Moskova olmasiyla cok da guzel alegorilerin oldugu bir roman. tam olarak arastiramasam da, bitirdigimde sanki biraz daha devam etmeliydi hissi vermesi nedeniyle tamamlanip tamamlanamadigi konusunda herhangi bir konu var mi bilemiyorum. sanirim karakterlerden alinan hazzin devam etmesi arzulandigindan oturu geliyor bitmemis hissi.

sozu kisa kesecek olursak, Platanov muhtesem bir yazar.
Profile Image for Lobstergirl.
1,750 reviews1,268 followers
August 18, 2015

Moscow Chestnova took off her shoes and began to walk barefoot over the softness of the fields. Sartorius followed her in fear and joy; there was nothing she could do now that did not bring trembling into his heart, and he was afraid of the alarming and dangerous life that was unfolding there. He followed after her, all the time lagging inadvertently behind her, thinking about her monotonously but with such tenderness that if Moscow had squatted down to pee, Sartorius would have begun to weep.

Chestnova gave him her shoes to carry. Imperceptibly, he sniffed them and even touched them with his tongue; now neither Moscow Chestnova herself, nor anything about her, however unclean, could have evoked the least squeamishness in Sartorius, and he could have looked at waste products from her with extreme curiosity, since they too would not long ago have formed part of a splendid person.
Profile Image for Майя Ставитская.
1,456 reviews143 followers
June 12, 2021
Platonov is always difficult to read. Not because he writes about some particularly difficult things to perceive, although this is enough, but because of the ordinary simplicity with which he cancels the opposition between antagonistic things and concepts. It blurs the border, makes life and death, love and hate, happiness and grief, perfect realization and complete collapse - separated by nature on different sides of the barrier.

At Andrey Platonov, a luxurious feast not only coexists with starvation, and perfect beauty and grace-with a stump and a wooden prosthesis, but at any second one is ready to flow, overflow into another, naturally taking up the entire volume. Moreover, in his picture of the world, he places the very center of the vital force, the elixir of vitality, not in the brain or heart, but in the intestines of a person who has just died, in the gap between undigested food and feces. What, not very nice? Well, here he is.

It is the cognitive dissonance, and not the peculiarities of the lexical structure of his prose, as it may seem at a superficial glance, that deprives the reader of support. The usual solid foundation becomes shaky, floats away from under your feet, you can not navigate in this world of monstrous fairy tales, told either by a mechanical man, or by a humanized mechanism. Clumsy, childish somehow, but at the same time paradoxically poetic, language

Преодолевающие жизнь
А без меня народ неполный.
"Старый механик" А.П.Платонов

Платонова читать ни разу не развлечение, всегда трудно. Не потому, что пишет о каких-то особенно тяжелых для восприятия вещах, хотя и этого хватает, но по той обыденной простоте, с какой отменяет противопоставление между антагонистичными вещами и понятиями. Он стирает границу, делает равнозначными жизнь и смерть, любовь и ненависть, счастье и горе, совершенную реализованность и полный крах - самой природой разнесенные по разные стороны барьера.

У Андрея Платоновича роскошный пир не только сосуществует с голодной смертью, а совершенная красота и грация - с культей и деревянным протезом, но в любую секунду одно готово перетечь, перелиться в другое, естественно заняв весь объем. Больше того, само средоточие жизненной силы, эликсир витальности он в своей картине мира помещает не в мозг или сердце, но в кишки только что умершего человека, в промежуток между непереваренной пищей и калом. Что, не очень приятно? Ну вот он такой.

Именно когнитивный диссонанс, а не особенности лексического строя его прозы, как может показаться на поверхностный взгляд, лишает читателя опоры. Привычно твердое основание становится зыбким, уплывает из-под ног, ты не можешь сориентироваться в этом мире чудовищных сказок, рассказанных не то механическим человеком, не то очеловеченным механизмом. Нескладным, детским каким-то, но при этом парадоксально поэтичным, языком

Незавершенный роман "Счастливая Москва" не о дорогой нашей столице, это история девушки, что в детстве осталась сиротой, скиталась среди беспризорников и бог знает какие тяг��ты довелось ей перенести до того времени, как попала в детский дом, где, не помнящей своего имени, дали ей новое - Москва Ивановна Чистова. Это квинтэссенция платоновского стиля: она несколько лет ходила и ела по родине, как в пустоте, пока не очнулась в детском доме и в школе.

За кадром могут оставаться какие угодно мерзости жизни, с девочки они скатились ртутными шариками, не замутив чистоты. Но и даром ничего не проходит, сплав жизни со смертью, особого рода безжалостно-равнодушное безразличие вошли в Москву как естественное продолжение ее личности. Природой естественной красоты, грации, непосредственности, назначенная радоваться жизни и вдохновлять творцов - а она такая, знаете, Муза, в которую невозможно не влюбиться, и всякий влюбляется - так вот, она оставляет, одного за другим, людей, которым разбила сердца.

Не ради других, которые богаче, умнее, талантливее, но за тем, чтобы пойти, например, работать в метрострой (самая тяжелая работа в невыносимых условиях, на которую нанимались преимущественно тогдашние гастарбайтеры - крестьяне из разоренных коллективизацией деревень). Где тяжелая вагонетка раздробит ей ногу, оставив ампутантом. А любившим ее механику Сарториусу (салют, "Солярис", не думаю, чтобы Лем читал, но книги порой переговариваются через головы творцов) и врачу Самбикину, остается деградировать, всякому своим способом.

Почему? Ну вот, такая философия у Платонова. Жизнь, которую не в счастье надобно проживать, не радоваться, но преодолевать ее ежечасно. Идеи русского космизма переплавляются в его творчестве в жизнь, сопредельную и почти равную смерти. Такое: "жить так, словно ты уже умер". Однако если вы только начинаете знакомство с платоновский прозой, возьмите эту небольшую по объему книгу, не "Котлован" или "Чевенгур", которыми автор знаменит больше.
Profile Image for H. Dalloway.
37 reviews2 followers
May 21, 2020
This book is about everybody and nobody; it’s about the plural and the singular; about the collective and the separate; about love and not about love at all.

In all Platonovs books there is this strange paradox; every human being has so much to live for, their work, research and love; they are always so curious about everything; of the vastness of life; the secrets of the mind; the quality of the human soul.

But at the same time, they are never satisfied, life is never enough, there is no rest. And because of that they are always miserable and unhappy. They live to the fullest but still feel they are missing out on something.

This is the groundwork for Platonovs characters. No matter where they are, who they are, they all have the same paradoxical faultiness.

In Happy Moscow, just like in Dzjan and Foundation Pit. It’s communism and love that are the reasons for that paradox. There really isn't any difference between them; they are both something that the Russian citizen has to strive for; both are volatile and unsatisfying; ideas that we can’t really grasp. Ideas that state that we should be a part of something bigger, of some kind of togetherness; that we have to belong to a comradeship; in society and in love.

But the problem is that our nature forbids this; that the nature of man is solitary; that even if we are a part of something, we will always be separated; through personality, class, age, gender, ethnicity and so on. We will always be different from each other in one way or another. Our idiosyncratic nature can never be fulfilled in that way. Not completely at least.

Both love and communism have to many discrepancy’s to work, they are not enough to still our restless souls. But for Platonov there is something that we can do, that is bigger and more rewarding. And that is compassion. With compassion for our fellow man, for nature, for words, silence and music we can fill all loneliness, all curiosity, all heartache. Compassion is the solution for the paradox every Russian citizen live by.

Amazing author!
Profile Image for Aslihan.
157 reviews25 followers
June 14, 2021
Öğrenmek istediğiniz konuyla ilgili araştırmalar okur, resmi kaynaklara bakar, verileri analiz edersiniz. Bütün bunlardan sonra bildiğinizi, öğrendiğinizi, anladığınızı sanırsınız. Oysa edebiyat, anladığınızı sandığınız hayatın bambaşka bir yüzünü gösterir size.

Platonov, Mutlu Moskova’da devrim sonrası Moskova’daki hayatı anlatırken devrimin ve kurumlarının gündelik hayatla mesafesini, bireyin yalnızlığını ve devrim halka nasıl yabancılaştığını bazı yönlerden çok yalın, bazı yönlerdense derin bir sembolizmle anlatıyor. Kitabın kahramanı Moskova’nın bir yetim olması, kurumdan kuruma geçen hayatı, kalabalıklar içindeki yalnızlığı ve diğer tüm karakterlerle yakınlaşmasına rağmen bir türlü tutunamayışı Sovyet insanından çok Sovyet devriminin kendisini anlatıyor sanki. Benzer bir biçimde Tartı Tröst’ündeki hassas tartı çalışmaları da sosyalizmin hassas terazisini, sınıfsız bir topluma giden yoldaki dengeleri düşündürüyor.

Anlatım ara ara dağılsa da betimlemeleri takip etmek zor olsa da Sovyet yaşamını iyi anlatan bir yazar Platonov. Can’dan sonra okuduğum ikinci kitabı ve aynı dönemde aynı ülke üzerine yazılan iki kitap bambaşka hayatlar anlatıyor. Bu da ister istemez bir dünya devriminin imkansızlığın�� düşündürüyor insana.
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