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Soul

by Andrey Platonov

In this bleak fable of the search for happiness, blades of grass feel more alive than the lost nation the hero seeks to revive. An unsettling read: stick with it and you'll emerge feeling unexpectedly optimistic.

Extract

Sufyan had Chagataev stay the night. The sleep of the economist was troubled: days and nights were passing in vain, and it was imperative to hurry and make happiness in the hellish pit of Sary-Kamysh. He lay there, measuring the passage of time, unable to fall asleep because of impatience of heart. In the sky the stars burned like the light of conscience; the camel outside breathed heavily in his sleep; and enfeebled grass, uprooted by the day's wind, was rasping cautiously against the sand, as if trying to walk independently on the little blades that were its legs.
Translated by Robert Chandler

Parallels

Mistress of Silence by Jacqueline Harpman
Three to See the King by Magnus Mills
 

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