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Long recognised as a timeless comic masterpiece-it inspired a Mel Brooks film a half century after its publication-The Twelve Chairs appears now in a lively new translation by Anne O. Fisher. Fisher, the most gifted interpreter of Ilf and Petrov in the English language, balances fidelity to the text and the authors' characteristic, deeply resonant humour.
Winner, 2012 Northern California Book Award for Fiction in Translation
More faithful to the original text and its deeply resonant humor, this new translation of The Twelve Chairs brings Ilf and Petrov's Russian classic fully to life. The novel's iconic hero, Ostap Bender, an unemployed con artist living by his wits, joins forces with Ippolit Matveyevich Vorobyaninov, a former nobleman who has returned to his hometown to look for a cache of missing jewels hidden in chairs that have been appropriated by the Soviet authorities. The search for the chairs takes them from the provinces of Moscow to the wilds of the Transcaucasus mountains. On their quest they encounter a variety of characters, from opportunistic Soviet bureaucrats to aging survivors of the old propertied classes, each one more selfish, venal, and bungling than the last. A brilliant satire of the early years of the Soviet Union, as well as the inspiration for a Mel Brooks film, The Twelve Chairs retains its universal appeal.
Ilya Ilf and Eugenii Petrov are the authors of the popular Russian satiric novels The Twelve Chairs (1928) and The Little Golden Calf (1931).
Erika Wolf is lecturer in the Department of Art History and Theory at the University of Otago, New Zealand.
"No translator knows Ilf and Petrov like Anne Fisher. The Twelve Chairs is a ruthless skewering of Soviet and Russian culture and society that is as relevant (and funny) today as when it was published in 1928. And of course Fisher's translation is brilliant and fresh, brimming with invaluable footnotes to provide context and meaning to the text." --Russian Life
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