Book Reviews of Snow White and Russian Red

Snow White and Russian Red
Snow White and Russian Red
Author: Dorota Maslowska, Benjamin Paloff
ISBN-13: 9780802170019
ISBN-10: 0802170013
Publication Date: 2/3/2005
Pages: 208
Rating:
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1

4 stars, based on 1 rating
Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat
Book Type: Paperback
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A gritty and disturbing tale of a disaffected young man in post-communist Poland.

From Publishers Weekly
A hit in 21-year-old Maslowska's native Poland and elsewhere in Europe, this punishing successor to first-person "lad" novels like Trainspotting serves up its nastiness spiked with pitch-black humor. Young, paranoid Polish speed fiend Andrzej "Nails" Robakoski presents himself, in hyperbolic stream-of-speech, as an ignoble chump morbidly obsessed with death whose trampy blonde girlfriend Magda has just dumped him. Living at home with a working but absent mother and felonious "bro," Nails adheres to a busy schedule of snorting lines, scarfing "Bird Milkies" (or chocolate-covered marshmallows), text-messaging and denouncing both American consumerism and Russian bootlegged goods. After Magda, Nails--mindlessly nationalist, misogynist, homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic--turns to anorexic virgin Angela, a Goth girl in black whom he feeds drugs and sexually assaults. Eventually, Nails is incarcerated for stealing a soda and walkie-talkie from a local McDonald's. In a hokey metafictional twist, he encounters "Dorota Maslowska," a teenage writer working as a typist at the jail, and then, after a collision with a prison wall, enters a hallucinatory state not much different from his waking life and from which the rest of the novel emerges. Paloff's translation is pitch-perfectly speedy, and with political ironies resounding throughout, it's clear that Maslowska is not exactly endorsing her blank generation, though the claustrophobic narrative presents few avenues of escape.
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