Born in Central Asia Chagataev, the hero, goes on to be educated in Moscow.
As an adult he is sent back to his birthplace as a kind of missionary, believing his people are 'lost in the desert' he goes to rescue them and lead them towards Communism.
His mission becomes a search for happiness and, ultimately, Chagataev discovers that he needs their help as much as they need his.
Platonov's style is that of myth and fable. Chagataev is an epic hero, a 20th century Moses leading his people to freedom and battling against the powers of darkness and yet, at the same time, he is lost and vulnerable, uncomfortable with the responsibility he tries to shoulder.
In trying to release the people from one ruling power, he himself fills the role of another.
This is ultimately a story about being in possession of your own life.
Platonov weaves together Zoroastrian myth, Sufism, Communism and Freud creating a work of psychological and philosophical complexity.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 192 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 03/04/2003
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781843430384