Death and the Penguin (Panther) by Andrey Kurkov

By Andrey Kurkov

Victor is depressed: his lover has dumped him, his brief tales are too brief, and the sunshine has long gone off in his dingy condo. His merely spouse is Misha, the penguin he rescued from Kiev's Zoo, while it could not feed the animals anymore. Misha is the silent witness to Victor's melancholy, and joins in his celebration—fish and vodka—when Victor's good fortune turns out to show: he's commissioned to put in writing obituaries. the unusual factor is that the editor desires him to pick topics who're nonetheless alive, the movers and the shakers of the recent, post-Communist society.

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He asked. Sighing, the Chief poured cognac and gave Viktor an inhibited, arrested sort of look. “Bowed his head did our brave young Red,” he crooned softly: “Cruelly shot through his Komsomol heart … “As a newspaper, we’ve had our losses. This one’s our seventh. Before long we’ll be unveiling a pantheon … Still, no skin off your nose! ” said the Chief. Then, in quite a different, somehow weary voice, and looking hard at him, he added “And it’s not your business any longer. Just that you know a bit more than others do … OK …” Viktor regretted his curiosity.

My daughter,” he said. ” He stooped to unbutton her little coat of reddish fur. “Sonya,” she said gazing up at him. “And I’m four. ” “You see? And she’s hardly been here a minute …” He removed her coat and helped her off with her little boots. They went through to the living room. ” she asked, looking round. “I’ll go and see,” said Viktor, but first he fetched Misha-non-penguin the two new obelisks from the kitchen. “Misha,” he called, looking behind the dark-green settee. Misha, standing in his hidey-hole on a treble thickness of camel-hair blanket, was staring at the wall.

A door banged. He waited patiently for the doorbell. A short while later, instead of a ring, there was a guarded knock. A red-eyed, sleepy-looking man of about 50 handed him a large brown envelope. “I’m down in the car. Hammer on the door if I’m asleep,” he said, without coming in. Sitting at his typewriter, Viktor drew from the envelope a sheet of paper and a theatre programme. Parkhomenko, Yuliya Andreyevna, b. 1955. Since 1988, singer Nat. Opera. Married, two children. he read. 1991, mastectomy.

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