Lets Put the Future Behind Us

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It's depiction of capitalism gone totally mad reminds one of Jun 28, Sam Reader rated it liked it. A fairly twisted if slow-moving comedy about scheming Russians, written in the style of a compressed Russian comic novel.

Womack might not be Gogol, but dammit, he's fun. Apr 14, Cyndi rated it liked it. Another read-aloud. There were some really good lines and scenes in this book, but I didn't find it that compelling overall. Apr 07, fonz rated it really liked it. Aug 06, Scott rated it really liked it.

So my second read by this guy is really making me a fan of his work.


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A lot more lighthearted than Random Acts of Senseless Violence. The story takes place in current-ish day Moscow, a city which is governed in equal parts by by organized crime, random chance, proper forgeries, and paranoid secrecy. The buildings are falling apart, petty crime is everywhere, and even getting a proper burial cant occur without numerous bribes. Although the general storyline is pretty typical - semi-decent business So my second read by this guy is really making me a fan of his work. Although the general storyline is pretty typical - semi-decent businessman gets unknowingly involved in something way over his head involving all kind of bad thing and people - it is made very entertaining by the sheer absurdity afforded by the city and its inhabitants.

The main character has a similar combination of cynical resignation, determination, and humanity that you might find in a Kurt Vonnegut novel. It took me about 80 pages to get into this book, but after that I couldn't put it down. May 28, Charlie Byers rated it really liked it.

I enjoyed this one a lot. It's an interesting story, and Womack pulls off something challenging with the narrative voice, making his main character a not-quite-parody of a businessman in contemporary Russia. It's a crime drama with some violent moments and a hefty dose of tragedy, but there's also a lot of humor in it. Within this story set in a 'cartoonized' Russia, there's also a subplot about an even-more absurd "Sovietland" theme park, so Womack clearly isn't shy about calling attention to the caricature.


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So, recommended, and I look forward to reading more Womack novels. Jun 05, Chris Morrow rated it really liked it.

Let's Put the Future behind Us

After Tsoi died in a car crash, Womack stayed and got a good feel for the insanity that was Russia after Communism. A big part of this book's charm lies in the shock value. If you've read anything about Russia's wild 90's, you know what to expect, more or less. The only problem is that a lot of these shocking things pre-pubescent gangsters, ultra-nationalist politicians, strange Soviet-era psychoactive drugs are presented in such a way that one never really gets a good look at them.

As it stands, it's merely good. May 18, C. Varn rated it really liked it. Jack Womack is a painfully underrated writer. This book, I hear, is not his best but that is saying something as his characterization and voice here is incredibly strong. Strong enough that the extremely violent satire loses any cartoonish feel because the voice is so convincingly Russian and completely grounded in the world of s post-Soviet Russia.

Admittedly the conception of new Russia is that of early s, and Putin's Russia is probably not a good analogue for the background. It is als Jack Womack is a painfully underrated writer. It is also a fairly interesting send up of both attempting to be an honest businessman in a fundamentally dishonest society and attempts to return to romantic pasts. While I will try to avoid spoilers: Superficially the plot seems to develop towards victory, but on deeper reading, the end can actually be quite haunting despite the seeming victory of the protagonist. Oct 20, David rated it really liked it.

This is not really a "Sci-Fi" book, as such, unless the real-but-surreal world of post-Soviet Russia counts as an SF locale--and maybe it should. Apparently Womack went to Moscow, and as he says in the acknowledgements, he saw the meeting of the world as he imagines it and the world that is.

His usual themes of endemic greed, corruption, and institutional inhumanity are on display but with a lighter touch than in his "Dryco" novels. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to his fans or to those who This is not really a "Sci-Fi" book, as such, unless the real-but-surreal world of post-Soviet Russia counts as an SF locale--and maybe it should. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to his fans or to those who enjoy black humor or surreal tales of totalitarian states, like Terry Gilliam's "Brazil," or perhaps "The Master and Margarita.

Apr 27, Robaperas rated it really liked it. I enjoyed the pacing of this book, very detailed but not boring; view spoiler [Max is a strange character, corrupt on one aspect of his life, but totally honourable and responsible on the other, and trapped in a sad marriage, unable to escape because of fear and traditions; in the end it went relatively well for him and his koshka.

I thought his brother Evgeny, as a relatively funny character, wasn't fully developed. Aug 22, George Harris rated it it was amazing. Set in mid-'90s post-Soviet Russia, it tells the tale of a former bureaucrat who is a relatively honest businessman: he provides government files.

If you want to show the opposite, no problem. Unfortunately, his mistress's husband gets him involved in a criminal scheme with Georgian gangsters and a fascist movement leader, and it will take all of his cleverness to survive. The prose really delivers Set in mid-'90s post-Soviet Russia, it tells the tale of a former bureaucrat who is a relatively honest businessman: he provides government files. I Agree This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and if not signed in for advertising.

Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms. Add to Your books. Add to wishlist. No current Talk conversations about this book. No reviews. You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data. References to this work on external resources. Book description. Haiku summary. Quick Links Amazon. Aug 24, Matt rated it liked it. I get the sense that you're supposed to read Womack's take on post-collapse Yeltsin era Russia in the spirit of William Gibson, but to me, it read a lot more like Ellmore Leonard, with the larger-than-life characters, the broad schemes, and the general mendacity of most of the characters.

And I like Leonard and Russian stories, so this should be a real winner for me. But this novel didn't really work for me-- I won't say it's overwritten, because the pompous roccoco style is clearly deliberate, I get the sense that you're supposed to read Womack's take on post-collapse Yeltsin era Russia in the spirit of William Gibson, but to me, it read a lot more like Ellmore Leonard, with the larger-than-life characters, the broad schemes, and the general mendacity of most of the characters.

But this novel didn't really work for me-- I won't say it's overwritten, because the pompous roccoco style is clearly deliberate, and might be a genuine expression of the protagonist's psyche. But it's purple in a way that resembles beaurocrat speak, and Womack is a little too in love with describing the gaudy creations he has Max encounter.

The book sort of waffles between being wildly over-the-top and wanting us to think it represents reality more clearly than it does. It also asks us to somehow accept or at least be interested in Max's love life to the degree that we want him to be happy, which wasn't something I found myself doing. There's a lot here that I thought I would like, but in the end, reading this felt like a chore.

Aug 19, Joell rated it it was amazing. I am totally hooked on Jack Womack.

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His talent with language is amazing. He's writing in English but it feels like Russian. This book is about post-Soviet Russia range from petty bureaucrats to full fledged Russian gangsters. It's depiction of capitalism gone totally mad reminds one of Jun 28, Sam Reader rated it liked it. A fairly twisted if slow-moving comedy about scheming Russians, written in the style of a compressed Russian comic novel.

Womack might not be Gogol, but dammit, he's fun. Apr 14, Cyndi rated it liked it. Another read-aloud. There were some really good lines and scenes in this book, but I didn't find it that compelling overall. Apr 07, fonz rated it really liked it. Aug 06, Scott rated it really liked it. So my second read by this guy is really making me a fan of his work.

A lot more lighthearted than Random Acts of Senseless Violence. The story takes place in current-ish day Moscow, a city which is governed in equal parts by by organized crime, random chance, proper forgeries, and paranoid secrecy. The buildings are falling apart, petty crime is everywhere, and even getting a proper burial cant occur without numerous bribes. Although the general storyline is pretty typical - semi-decent business So my second read by this guy is really making me a fan of his work.

Although the general storyline is pretty typical - semi-decent businessman gets unknowingly involved in something way over his head involving all kind of bad thing and people - it is made very entertaining by the sheer absurdity afforded by the city and its inhabitants. The main character has a similar combination of cynical resignation, determination, and humanity that you might find in a Kurt Vonnegut novel. It took me about 80 pages to get into this book, but after that I couldn't put it down.

May 28, Charlie Byers rated it really liked it.

Charlie's Diary: Let's put the future behind us

I enjoyed this one a lot. It's an interesting story, and Womack pulls off something challenging with the narrative voice, making his main character a not-quite-parody of a businessman in contemporary Russia. It's a crime drama with some violent moments and a hefty dose of tragedy, but there's also a lot of humor in it. Within this story set in a 'cartoonized' Russia, there's also a subplot about an even-more absurd "Sovietland" theme park, so Womack clearly isn't shy about calling attention to the caricature.

So, recommended, and I look forward to reading more Womack novels. Jun 05, Chris Morrow rated it really liked it. After Tsoi died in a car crash, Womack stayed and got a good feel for the insanity that was Russia after Communism. A big part of this book's charm lies in the shock value. If you've read anything about Russia's wild 90's, you know what to expect, more or less. The only problem is that a lot of these shocking things pre-pubescent gangsters, ultra-nationalist politicians, strange Soviet-era psychoactive drugs are presented in such a way that one never really gets a good look at them.

As it stands, it's merely good. May 18, C. Varn rated it really liked it. Jack Womack is a painfully underrated writer. This book, I hear, is not his best but that is saying something as his characterization and voice here is incredibly strong. Strong enough that the extremely violent satire loses any cartoonish feel because the voice is so convincingly Russian and completely grounded in the world of s post-Soviet Russia. Admittedly the conception of new Russia is that of early s, and Putin's Russia is probably not a good analogue for the background. It is als Jack Womack is a painfully underrated writer.

It is also a fairly interesting send up of both attempting to be an honest businessman in a fundamentally dishonest society and attempts to return to romantic pasts. While I will try to avoid spoilers: Superficially the plot seems to develop towards victory, but on deeper reading, the end can actually be quite haunting despite the seeming victory of the protagonist.