The Milkman in the Night by Andrey Kurkov

Milkman in the Night by Andrey Kurkov

Jill's take on The Milkman in the Night by Andrey Kurkov

The Milkman in the Night is the first book of Andrey Kurkov's that I've read. We had another one of his books, Death and the Penguin, which Zac read but I just don't remember reading for some reason. So I consider this my first; and it won't be my last.

I so enjoyed this book! The language is super easy to read and Kurkov weaves tales of people's lives in Kiev and the surrounding countryside effortlessly. The tone of the book feels very light, but there are some serious things going on: politics, murder, drug manipulation and thievery, sleepwalking, wet nurses. It's all here. Even though the subject matter is at times heavy and intriguing, the book never feels weighty. I was genuinely interested in what was happening to each of the characters and wondering how it was all going to turn out. I loved the descriptions of not only the people but the way the plot was driven along as well. There are some quirky elements to this book that make it so entertaining and I didn't want to put it down. 

I think we were initially captured by the cover of the book and I think you can see why. So clever and provides just a little glimpse into what's in store; but there are so many things you cannot predict about the plot of the book just by its cover. I'm so glad I was taken in by the design on the book jacket and the few pages I read while standing in the bookstore. This was a truly enjoyable read and I look forward to reading more by Kurkov in the future. 

Zac's take on The Milkman in the Night by Andrey Kurkov

The Milkman in the Night is the second novel I’ve read by Andrey Kurkov, but it was more than ½ way through this one until I realized this fact.

Kurkov has a way of writing that many Russian authors have. It’s really elusive and hard to describe but the way I think of it is as a wry fatalistic and dark perspective that somehow manages to be light and breezy and bluntly factual all at the same time. Kurkov fully acknowledges corruption and death and violence and unfairness in the world, and with that context is free to write about unbelievable events in a believable way. Of course there is a secret society of pharmacists whose main mission is to switch the Ukrainian government to operate only at night.

Of course unwed mothers are paid for their breast milk that is then used either to bathe rich women or to make cheese by novice monks. Of course there is a man who sleepwalks to such a degree that he hires a colleague to follow him at night to find out what is going on and of course it turns out he has an entire separate life with people who don’t recognize him during the day.

And I won’t even get to the baggage handler and the bottles of mysterious drugs that gives people enormous amounts of courage or the vigilante cat with more than 9 lives. It’s really a novel you should read if you want to escape the strange shit you know is real for a moment or two.