The Good Angel of Death by Andrey Kurkov (Translated by Andrew Bromfield) - review by John Murray

John Murray

Koyla’s Odyssey

The Good Angel of Death


Harvill Secker 376pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Andrey Kurkov achieved international fame with his mesmerising ‘penguin’ novels Death and the Penguin and Penguin Lost, both of which have appeared in translation over the last decade. These mordant parables about post-Soviet corruption in his native Ukraine feature the same hapless Kiev hero Viktor and his beloved pet penguin Misha, both of them compelling emblems of innocence in a violent, cynical and Mafia-ridden society.

Instead of recognising Kurkov’s originality as a writer, most British critics have rushed to make easy comparisons with Bulgakov, Gogol and Dostoyevsky. It is hardly insulting Kurkov to say that he is not in the same league as the two nineteenth-century giants, and unlike all three of these

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Princeton - Shame