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Ilf & Petrov's Road Trip

Last Friday, the Literary Saloon wrote about a documentary recreating Ilf & Petrov’s trip across America. From The Moscow Times“:

In 1935, satirical writers Ilya Ilf and Yevgeny Petrov drove from New York to the Mexican border and back in a Ford. They spoke only schoolboy English and couldn’t drive, but these obstacles weren’t allowed to stand in the way of their commission from Pravda newspaper to write a book on the United States. Accompanied by a left-wing American couple — the wife driving and the Russian-speaking husband interpreting — they applied their comic talents to such strange phenomena as drugstores, ham and eggs, striptease shows and chewing gum advertisements.

More than 70 years later, a crew from Channel One repeated Ilf and Petrov’s journey for a new documentary series, also titled One-Story America, which starts Feb. 11.

(Unfortunately, The Moscow News website expired and “is pending renewal or deletion.” Not so good . . .)

Ilf and Petrov were an amazing duo writing in the 30s, and are most well-known for The Twelve Chairs (available from Northwestern) and The Golden Calf (which Helen Anderson and Konstantin Gurevich are retranslating for Open Letter—more on that in the near future).

Princeton Architectural Press reissued Ilf and Petrov’s American Road Trip: The 1935 Travelogue of Two Soviet Writers in October 2006, and in a remarkable testament to the hipness of Entertainment Weekly, this was featured on the EW “Must List” shortly after publication.



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