1987 and Other Stories by Vladimir Kozlov

Reviewed by New Pop Lit

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Igor died at the end of the ninth grade in May. He was drinking wine on the bank of the river, then he went swimming and drowned.

Ten tough stories from Russian author Vladimir Kozlov which are distinctly unromantic. Most are set during perestroika and the collapse of the Soviet Union, examining the lives of those coming of age in that system. Incidents include a man picking up a woman on a bus, a boy falling off a roof, punks celebrating Hitler’s birthday; protests and police; classrooms, liaisons, rebellions, fights– a lot of them– and unemotional, often awkward dates. To say this is a world without illusion is an understatement. There are enough glimpses of now to believe things in Russia since then have not greatly changed.

Lenka’s father was an alcoholic and used to be a math teacher. People said he sobered up and fell off the wagon a bunch of times, and that he was fired from his regular job because of it. Now he was working as the school’s security guard at night.

But he also used to be a poet, and ten years ago or maybe longer, his poetry always used to get published in the city newspaper. Lenka hated her parents and they hated her.

The two best stories in the collection are the title story, “1987”– about the arrival of punk music and punk attitudes into a Soviet town– and “Olya.”

I walked on further to Victory Square. I went into the Dawn Bookstore, in the five-story building next to the trolley bus stop. Olya was sitting behind the counter, reading a book wrapped in a newspaper dust jacket. She looked up at me and said, “Hi.”

“Hi,” I answered. “You work here?”

“Looks like it, doesn’t it?” she said.

“Olya” is a pessimistic tale about a young woman with much promise, then with no promise. An analogy to the society. The character is never described, but we can see her, the expression on her face, based on her words and her life. Fallen potential– the story opens with the narrator thinking he glimpsed her twenty-five years later, but he isn’t sure.

The theme of these stories is the absence of dreams– the impossibility of dreams.

“Worker’s is a neighborhood for lame-o proletarians and peasants. The worst part is, the teachers that work at that school get to be the same way after a while. I know they all used to talk about me. But I don’t give a shit.”

Another very good story is “The Major,” which we’re privileged to present as our current fiction feature, for the first time anywhere in English, as translated by Andrea Gregovich.
****

After I read the stories, I went with my contributing editor KMC to a small diner in a depressed community downriver of Detroit. Three high school students, two boys and a girl, lounged in one of the booths. Tough kids. I realized that Kozlov’s stories reminded me of downriver Detroit. The same sense of being trapped in a box; same gray attitude and acceptance of life.

Vladimir Kozlov’s stories are unflinchingly real.
****

Right now you can purchase this collection as an e-book for only five dollars, at Fiction Advocate, here. Buy it and keep up with the authentic literary world.

Vladimir-Kozlov

(Photo of Vladimir Kozlov.)

 

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Kitty Glitter: Pop Writer

(ADULT CONTENT INCLUDED.)

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A Review by Karl Wenclas

There are many kinds of pop writing, among them Noir Pop, Fun Pop, Romantic Pop, Trash Pop, Speed Pop, and Beat Pop. There’s also Extreme Pop (a variation of Trash Pop) of which the master is a mysterious individual named Kitty Glitter who’s been making waves across the internet. (See this interview at Jezebel magazine.) Obtaining fans but also receiving some of the worst (and best) ratings and most outraged reader comments ever seen at Amazon.

We’re not advocates of Extreme Pop, but we are extreme advocates of Pop writing. Kitty Glitter’s version of it is striking. Not the writing so much as the presentation of the writing– and the promotion of the presentation. Warholesque. As with Andy Warhol, the P.T. Barnum promotion itself is the art.

Is this person on to something? Satirizing American pop culture icons from Katy Perry to Star Trek– yet at the same time celebrating them. Everything about the Kitty Glitter oeuvre catches the pop culture vibe. Each of us could present our own examples to celebrate. To me, the essence of pop culture is Joan Jett and The Runaways singing “Cherry Bomb.” Kitty Glitter is out to capture that essence.

the wetclits colorThe show is outrageous. The breaking of all bounds, tastes, identities, trademarks, copyrights– pushing the limits of speech– so all that’s left is a love of cheezy pop culture. The public’s love of it.

I’ve read a draft version of Kitty’s upcoming e-book novel The Wet Clits, which may have already been released. The Kitty Glitter books are being produced fast and furiously, perhaps to feed the burgeoning public demand for them.
***

His name was Pussy Burner and he rolled up onto the scene on a motorcycle that was burning fuel like it was Hell.

Clitney was the first to notice him. She noticed his hot body and giant muscles. She noticed the Judge Dredd helmet he wore that covered the top part of his face, a helmet with an insignia that looked like a twat with a swastika cut into it.

***
There’s a line between outrageousness and offensiveness. Does Kitty Glitter cross it?
***

“Arr!” Monster of Frankenstein said, “I am the most famous story ever, but to be real, monster is your friend. Please take care of yourself and start making music again.”

“Whatevs,” Clitney said, “I can’t make music without a band.”

“Use four track!” Monster of Frankenstein said as he used his giant green fists to smash Clitney’s TV to pieces.

***
Much of it is impossibly silly.
***

“I’m not scared of you,” Green Kitty said as he pulled out a switchblade, “I’m gonna cut your butt off for what you did to my sister.”

***
We at New Pop Lit believe, Elon Musk style, in breaking down literature into its constituent parts and putting them back together in a new way. Kitty Glitter has some of the Pop elements down– simplicity; superficiality; humor; cliche’. But the Glitzter also makes aesthetic mistakes. More plot hooks, more consistent and defined characters might correct them.

Then again, critiquing the writing is beside the point.

The writing has flair. Amid the omnipresent obscenity, Pop flair. In a crude sense, even style.

Wayward experiment or glimpse at the literary future?

PEE

(Possible upcoming Kitty Glitter book.)