chapter  8
26 Pages

Envisioning the End: The Apocalyptic Novels of Glasnost

WithNadya L. Peterson

Publicistic literature is an extension of two distinctive orientations of the fantastic decade—village prose that had idealized the Russian rural past, and refurbished socialist realism that had tried to broaden the scope of Soviet literature by incorporating fantasy into the standard socialist realist model. Chingiz Aitmatov's celebrated novel of glasnost, The Execution Block, is a thorough depiction of the dire consequences the myth of the Great Society has left in its wake. The novel's "gripe list" includes a discussion of drug production and trafficking, the break-up of families, lawlessness and cynicism both in the city and country, the plundering of the environment, the wholesale extermination of wildlife, even the murder of innocent children. Aitmatov's vision of the disintegrating social, cultural, and moral structures of his society was shared by a score of prominent writers of pub licistic literature.