Death and the Penguin

Author: Andrey Kurkov

Published by: Vintage (1996)

Viktor owns a penguin, Misha, and writes obelisks (obituaries) for the local newspaper. An aspiring writer, he becomes a craftsman of the obelisks and paid handsomely. Then he inherits Sonya, the daughter of Misha non-penguin who later disappears mysteriously. The obelisks, Misha learns, are about living people ranging from politicians to musicians, and some of these people start expiring. Then he hires a nanny for Sonya, Nina, who becomes a pseudo Mom for Sonya and wife for Viktor. Things go awry when his boss, the Chief, hints at Viktor being watched closely.

Dry and dark, this comedy taking place in the Ukraine, was a great read. On a whim, a close friend suggested I read this book and I enjoyed it tremendously. A bit melancholy, like when I read The Stranger in high school but written splendidly, with so much wit. I recommend for those into dark humor. Go for it. Oh and the penguin is so cute!


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