Sorokin part 4: Vagankovskoye Cemetery

The much-derided grave of Soviet bard and actor Vladimir Vysotsky.

The much-derided grave of Soviet bard and actor Vladimir Vysotsky.

The Eros of Moscow (continued)
By Vladimir Sorokin

4.  Vagankovskoye Cemetery

Entering the cemetery grounds, steer right, to the most distant part of it, taking with you an unread book.  Finding nothing noticeable besides a tidy tomb with a small bench, sit and read the book until dusk, until the evening cool appears and the letters on the page start to run together and resemble soldiers sleeping side by side.  Close the book, carefully put it on the grave and quietly leave the cemetery.  I behaved in this exact manner in May 1980.  Having gone to the maternity clinic to visit my wife, who was preparing to cast out into our contradictory world two twins, I left to aimlessly wander Moscow, warm and reeking of gas and asphalt, with a Xeroxed copy of Nabokov’s novel King, Queen, Knave under my arm.  I don’t remember, how and why I ended up in Vagankovskoye Cemetery.  The cemetery, not yet ruined by the tasteless tomb for Vysotsky, humbly lay in the shade of the lindens and poplars, spots of sunlight dancing in unpretentious crosses, young grass pushing up on the mounds of the graves.  Having sat on a bench next to someone’s well-kept grave, I read Nabokov until dusk and, not having read to the end, all of a sudden stood and walked off between the graves, not really thinking about anything.  Why did I leave the book on the grave?  “It’s hard to explain,” as that same porter would say.  It’s still harder to convey the feeling that I left the gates of the cemetery with.

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One Response to “Sorokin part 4: Vagankovskoye Cemetery”

  1. […] Sorokin part 4: Vagankovskoye Cemetery « Eagle and the Bear […]

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