My first book of the year was also the last book of 2014, Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s “Autobiography of a Corpse”. It was that intriguing title which drew my finger to the “buy now with 1-Click” button on Amazon’s website but, while my decision to purchase was quick, getting through the eBook itself was quite a struggle. It happens, albeit rarely, that I have intense internal discussions as to whether I should carry on reading a book which I am patently not enjoying. In the end, I carry on to the end. This could be because of my sporting background, which has inculcated me with the discipline to follow training programs even on those days when the body is rebelling against the idea of doing the scheduled workout. Or I am hopelessly hopeful, expecting the string of boring sentences to morph into interesting ones with the turn of the page.
What weighed me down with this collection of short stories were the philosophical discourses that are woven into them. Their abstraction had my eyes getting stuck in a muddiness of words. More than half way through the book I was getting seriously worried that I’d be sucked in so deeply that I’d never reach the final full-stop. It was at this point that the author threw in a clutch of really entertaining and imaginative pieces – The Runaway Fingers, Yellow Coal, Bridge Over the Styx, Thirty Pieces of Silver, The Unbitten Elbow (which triggered a childhood memory; read about it here.)
Although finishing on a positive note, it might not suffice to convince me to read other works by Krzhizhanovsky. The struggle to read versus the pleasure derived was too closely fought.
My rating is 6/10.