Readers unfamiliar with Russian literature will find Brooks stories a literary revelation. They are rich, slightly dark, and intense. They are not puerile entertainment, that category of fiction which currently enjoys such a great popularity. OnMoreReaders unfamiliar with Russian literature will find Brooks stories a literary revelation. They are rich, slightly dark, and intense.
They are not puerile entertainment, that category of fiction which currently enjoys such a great popularity. On the contrary, Brooks stories reflect the best traditions of classical Russian literature and contribute to the ongoing examination of those problems that haunt all human beingsunrequited love, loneliness, incompatibility, failure, despair, search for fulfillment, self-imposed exile, sexuality, death and mercilessness of time.
However, Brook enriches this tradition by his innovative stylea combination of almost surreal dreams, fantasies and exotic landscapes. The hero of Hotel Million Monkeys, a village teacher, searches for the beauty and poetry in life, for a paradise on earth, and tries to cope with his infatuation with one of his pupils.
He finds escape in drunken revelries, imagining that he is a traveler in India or a companion of the daring, bold, determined and ultimately victorious Portugese discoverer Vasco da Gama. Each time when he is about to discover a secret of this other, beautiful and fulfilling life, he is interrupted by real lifes pedestrian and prosaic events, by the trite and the shallow.
He continues his search in drunken fantasies, but the glimpses of India he has allowed us to see, smell, and taste, are unforgettable. . . .Alexandra, the heroine of The White-eyed Saleswoman, withdraws from her unhappy life to a remote village where she falls in love with another lonely and dejected soula teacher from Moscow who has come to her village. Both of them, the best educated, cultured and thoughtful people in the village, Donat and Alexandra not only cannot understand each other but they cannot communicate to each other what is most important in their lives.
He becomes a village gigolo and she a dictatorial saleswoman.A similar type of misunderstanding awaits the hero and the heroine of A Ceiling with Lizards. Even though they desperately try to find true love, they break down and give up at the moment when this love seems to be in sight, within their reach. They misinterpret each others actions and raise between them a wall that neither can scale.The adolescent hero of Ten Past Ten is perhaps not condemned to utter loneliness, though many fragments of the story seem to indicate that he, too, will have difficulties communicating with women and finding perfect love.
Through his disturbing and cruel fantasies, he discovers his sexuality and grows up during his illness.Edward, in A Veranda for Showers, is killed in a hotel room because he is too self-absorbed to realize that by taking a picture of a beautiful Indian girl bathing on a veranda he has violated the ancient customs of another country. Even though he possesses a special talent to notice those perfect moments when everything in the world comes together, this astonishing ability does not make him happy or successful in life.
At the time of his death, he is still searching for the meaning of his existence and true fulfillment.The Russian hero of Vodka and Broads, Grigory Vampukha, is lazy, often drunk, and unable to fit into his adopted country, America, an yet, throughout his senseless and wasted life he stays relatively happyprobably happier than his hard-working, successful friend Tiurikov.
Tiurikov cannot exist without visiting Vampukha from time to time and discussing, somewhat crudely, the two things a man needs to live happilyvodka and women.