07 November 2020

Book Review: The Revenge of the Foxes by Ak Welsapar

Unfortunately, this book just went over my head. It is a small number, only clocking in at less than 120 pages, yet for some reason, I just didn't get it.

See, this book depicts a medical institution, where all patients are supposed to have heart surgery. They're all waiting for their operation, but until that happens (which may or may not), they are free to do whatever they want to do. Some patients enter into relationships with others, other patients become very fanatic and fascist, and so on. Each character more or less represents some sector of Moscow society during the collapse of the Soviet Union. But as I was reading it, I felt like I needed some more background information, which the writer expects his readers to have, but unfortunately, since I don't have the relevant cultural upbringing, I didn't. So in the end, I felt like 120 pages came and went and I only got to scratch the surface with my puny little nails.

There is some magical element to the story. There is one character that has a robotic mechanical heart. And it has a loud ticking noise, only disguised by constant talking or loud snoring. The main character is a young Turkmen, who meets other patients like a Greek boy, as well as a lovely woman, Mary. Each character seemed to symbolise some idea, yet for the life of me, I found it slightly inaccessible and hard to grasp.

Perhaps if I grew up within the former Soviet Union, then I would enjoy this book more. I feel like it is an allegory for the social issues that the area is experiencing after the break up of the bloc. But unfortunately, given the lack of cultural background, I feel like I couldn't enjoy the full potential of this book. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

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