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Read eBook The Keeper of AntiquitiesAuthor Yury Dombrovsky –

The Keeper Of Antiquities Is Simultaneously One Of The Great Russian Modern Novels And A Key To Understanding The Terrible Stalinist Purges Of The Late S Set Far From Moscow In The Remote Kazakhstan Capital Of Alma Ata, The Keeper Of Antiquities Begins With A Leisurely, Almost Scholarly Air Like A Devious Story By Borges But Very Soon We Find Ourselves Watching With Horror As Professional Rivalry Between The Keeper Of The Town S Museum And The Chief Librarian Turns Into A Deadly Struggle For Control Over The Meaning Of The Past And Therefore Over The PresentWhile Dombrovsky Does Not Have The Wit, The Suave Cynicism Of Bulgakov, He Is Or Was Immensely Drawn To The Tragi Comic Potential Of The Bureaucratic Flap, Endemically Russian Water Boils Drearily For Tea In Noisily Peopled Conferences Lank Jawed, Heavily Smoking Females Whine And Bark In Outrage Minor Officials Threaten And Soothe Mass Grievances Are Unburdened The Narrator Is An Open Hearted, Straightforward Young Man With The Title Of Keeper Of Antiquities In The Archaeological Section Of A Museum In Rural Soviet Central Asia The Keeper Is Moderately Happy In His Eyrie Of Catalogues And Modest Displays, Sharing Varieties Of Pickling Alcohol With An Earthy Old Carpenter And Enjoying A Secret Hoard Of Carnival Views Of Beauties Of The World In Their Natural State His Aim Is To Go Quietly On His Way Without Interfering With Anybody But Your Business Is History To Prove And Demonstrate, And There Is No Escape An Attempt To Improve The Local Library By A Critical Comment The Friendship With A Collective Brigade Leader Whose Brother Was Shot Unjustly As A Traitor The Defense Of A Young Archaeologist Fired By The Library All Forbode Disaster The Keeper Of Pristine Truths Unsullied By Expedient Exploitation Thinks Of Flight, But In The End Simply Waits For The Closing In Of History, Party Style A Spirited, Often Anguished, Indictment Of Mindless Officialdom Wherever It Appears

10 thoughts on “The Keeper of Antiquities

  1. says:

    I picked this up while out used book shopping for two reasons 1 The blurb on the front states A splendid blend of situation comedy and Kafkaesque menace even though I do in fact hate the overuse of the term Kafkaesque and2 The comparison to Borges on the back.None of those things ended up being valid, but I enjoyed this book in spite of that.There are some funny moments in it, but none of them would really be described as situation comedy they were of the black humor mildly absurdist bent you find in a lot of relatively modern Russian literature that focuses on the paranoia and suspicion that infuses the time around the various purges.There is a lot to like in the book the museum keeper archaeologist narrator is a stand out there is a fantastic thread throughout the book about the past, and the present day interpretation of the past, especially in light of propaganda and public re education the heroes of the past become guilty by their association with traitors who were not yet traitors the interactions with the head librarian really, I could list for a while This was a thoroughly enjoyable read it took about 50 pages or so to get rolling, but once it picked up speed I put mostly everything else i.e work to the side to find the time needed to finish it A fun, absorbing read.

  2. says:

    Recommended by a Russian pen pal for Dumbrovsky s writing and his telling of historical fiction, I found this book impossible to put down Lyrical and detailed, it transported me completely to Alma Ata, Kazakhstan, in the late 1930s on the eve of one of Stalin s terrors With a wry humor that if anything highlights the harsh absurdities of Soviet life, the narrator tells a story of an archaeologist and writer working in the town s museum with wit and grace Highly recommended.

  3. says:

    The Keeper of Antiquities was an interesting, yet flawed book I really enjoyed the main character and the atmosphere of bureaucratic paranoia Moreover, it was occasionally funny The very idea of a museum keeper who does his best to avoid collecting artifacts was hilarious for me.However, the book could have used another edit Sometimes personality traits are directly contradictory For example, one character is described as being uniformed and always asking the wrong questions Later he is described as intelligent and continually learning through asking good questions The ending also felt rushed, as if it petered out rather than concluded Given the way the main character acted, I was confident that a different ending was supposed to have be written.There was also a complete misunderstanding of Nietzsche Perhaps it was a demonstration of ignorance by the main character, but I can also see it as the fault of the writer This especially pissed me off since Nietzsche promoted the exact opposite of what was proposed in this book Its stuff like this that makes me wish it was edited carefully.And although not a criticism of the writer, I found the back of the book description to be both interesting and misleading Although there was a control over truth, the fight was over the dissemination of knowledge, rather than over the meaning of the past The enemy was not any one person, but entity of the Soviet government overall The Chief Librarian was a small enemy, and of a representation of the Soviet entity, rather than anything in their own right, in my opinion.Although I cannot recommend, the peak into Soviet era secret police was worth it.

  4. says:

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  5. says:

    Fascinating and horrifying book about the Soviet labour camps