‘The Foundation Pit’

Whilst in the beautiful, brash and busy capital today I found another Soviet writer (and book) to add to my slowly amassing knowledge of Russian writers.  I now greedily grasp ‘The Foundation Pit’, by Andrey Platonov, in my hands and eagerly await spending quality time reading this much maligned author’s work.  The novel was wrote in the late 1920’s/early 1930’s but not published in Russia until the 1980’s due to political and ideological upset caused by the themes of Platonov’s novel and previous writings.  ‘The Foundation Pit’ describes the lives of a group of soviet workers ‘who believe they are laying the foundations for a radiant future’, but are, of course, misled.   In particular it questions the moral authority of the individual, of the collective and of the state, with characters stating their ambivalence towards life itself.

“Wasn’t Truth merely a class enemy?  After all the class enemy was now capable of appearing even in the form of the dream and imagination!” (Platonov’s The Foundation Pit).

Honestly I am already 30 pages in and I do not want it to end.  Since discovering the very much valued work of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Mikhail Sholokhov on my father’s bookshelves I have reached deep into the well of beauty that is Russian literature, but my thirst is not yet sated and I am not sure it ever will be.  Visits to the University and local council library have yielded such gems as Anna ‘Karenina’ by Tolstoy and Gogol’s ‘Dead Souls’, but my most treasured reads so far have to Solzhenitsyn’s ‘Cancer Ward’ and Sholokohov’s Don epic.  I have yet to try Dostoyevsky, but ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ is always on my mind.  In the mean time I am sure Platonov will keep me busy.

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