chapter  4
15 Pages

Socialist Realists in Space

WithNadya L. Peterson

In 1980 when The Day was hailed by Soviet critics as the first novel of its kind in Soviet literature, Nodar Dumbadze's The Law of Eternity had been available to the Russian-language reader for over a year. Dumbadze, who died in 1984, was a prominent and highly regarded Georgian writer whose success story is reminiscent of Chingiz Aitmatov's. Aitmatov's The Day relates the story of a journey of the main hero Edigei to bury his friend and mentor Kazangap at the old cemetery of his Sarozek forebears, Ana-Beiit. The novel shifts back and forth between preparations for the trip, the actual journey and Edigei's memories of his life at the faraway railroad junction of Boranly-Burannyi. Evtushenko's contribution to fantastic prose, WildBerries is tribute to Aitmatov and his school of writing. Wild Berries is a briccolage of narrative modes shaped around several clearly articulated messages.