Platonov Story

This week’s New Yorker has a short story by Andrei Platonov, author of the fantastically bleak The Foundation Pit.

In the gloom of nature, a man with a hunting rifle was walking through sparse forest. The hunter’s face was a little pockmarked, but he was handsome and, for the time being, still young. At this time of year, a whiff of mist hung in the forest—from the warmth and moisture of the air, the breath of developing plants, and the decay of leaves that had perished long ago. It was difficult to see anything, but it was good to walk alone, to think without meaning, or to do the opposite—to stop thinking altogether and just droop. The forest grew on the slope of a low hill; large boulders lay between the small thin birches, and the soil was infertile and poor—clay here, gray earth there—but the trees and grass had got used to these conditions, and they lived in this land as best they could.

That’s the opening paragraph to the story, and it’s very representative of Platonov’s tone.

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