Fourteen Little Red Huts and Other Plays

by Andrei Platonov

Edited by Robert Chandler. Translated by Robert Chandler, Jesse Irwin, and Susan Larsen. With notes by Robert Chandler and Natalya Duzhina

In this essential collection of Andrei Platonov's plays, the noted Platonov translator Robert Chandler edits and introduces The Hurdy-Gurdy (translated by Susan Larsen), Fourteen Little Red Huts (translated by Chandler), and Grandmother's Little Hut (translated by Jesse Irwin). Written in 1930 and 1933, respectively, The Hurdy-Gurdy and Fourteen Little Red Huts constitute an impassioned and penetrating response to Stalin's assault on the Soviet peasantry. They reflect the political urgency of Bertolt Brecht and anticipate the tragic farce of Samuel Beckett but play out through dialogue and characterization that is unmistakably Russian. This volume also includes Grandmother's Little Hut, an unfinished play that represents Platonov's later, gentler work.

About the Author

Andrei Platonov (1899–1951) was a Soviet writer of poetry, short stories, novels, plays, and journalism.

Robert Chandler has translated widely from Russian. He is also the editor of Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida (2006) and coeditor of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (2015).

Reviews

Part horror story, part ideological stand-up comedy, Platonov's plays depict an absurd, nightmarish world in which hope and cynicism are inextricable. Their publication in this appropriately clever and meticulously annotated translation serves as an important contribution to our understanding of one of the twentieth century's most tragic chapters. Platonov, whose complex prose has already established him as Russia's closest equivalent to Faulkner, here emerges as a dramatist who can easily enter into conversation with Beckett.
Absurd, grotesque and seemingly surreal, the topsy-turvy world of Platonov's plays captures the disturbing reality of Stalin's Russia in the 1930's with precision, irreverence and verbal virtuosity! The stunning translation offers a unique opportunity for English-speaking readers and audiences to encounter one of the most uncompromising and visionary Russian writers of the last century.
This collection of three plays by Andrei Platonov brings still more of his remarkable output to the attention of an English-language readership. Marginalized by Soviet literary officialdom, Platonov was an instinctive modernist who produced a series of prose works that are by turns hauntingly disturbing and beautiful. So too in the handful of works he wrote for the stage: in response to the grotesque Stalinist reality around him, his deformative instincts produced plays that anticipate Kharms, Becket, and Ionesco. These translations by Robert Chandler, Jesse Irwin, and Susan Larsen deftly render them in idiomatic English.

Links

Read Andrei Platonov's unfinished play "Grandmother's Little Hut" in Words Without Borders