“Zoshchenko’s technique is that of the skaz, the oral tale. The tale is supposed to have a moral, instructional point, to illustrate something; that is the excuse for telling and listening. But the point gets lost on the way: the story teller is caught up in the story itself or simply succombs to the delight of having an audience. It is himself he expresses, and not the moral. Either he loses it completely or arrives at a conclusion as unexpected for him as it is for the audience, or he tacks it on by force majeure, exposing either his own clay feet or the insubstantiality of all conclusions, or both.”
This story isn’t the best example of that, or close to Zoshchenko’s best, although it is an enjoyable little thing. I chose it mainly becuase it is much easier to transcribe 3 pages of text than it is 40. That and Shiv asked for more stories 😉
Poverty (Zoshchenko, early 1900’s)
Nowadays, brothers, what is the most fashionable word there is, eh?
Nowadays, the most fashionable word that can be is, of course, electrification.
I won’t argue that it isn’t a matter of immense importance to light up Soviet Russia with electricity. Nevertheless, even this matter has its shady side. I am not saying, comrades, that it costs a lot. It costs nothing more expensive than money. That’s not what I’m talking about.
This is what I mean.