“It was wasteful of me to contaminate the girl, I thought and felt, but what I meant by the word ‘wasteful’ was not that I had committed a horrible act; on the contrary, what I meant was that I had made a sacrifice, hoping to gain a certain pleasure in return, which pleasure had not been forthcoming.”
Vadim Maslennikov is a grade a a**hole, that it was my misfortune to encounter due to the presence of this novel on the 1001 books to read before you die list. The novel is brilliantly executed and Vadim reminds me of a kind of precurssor to Patrick Bateman, or a number of other unlikeble literary protagonists.
The novel begins with the merciless poor treatment by the school boy of his poor mother. He appears particularly evil when he lambasts and disowns his mother in front of his school friends, suggesting she is some easy, poverty stricken woman that they could all have their way with.
As the previous comment suggests, Vadim is rather mysoginistic, no more so when he knowingly infects the wide eyed Zinochka, with his unnamed, sexually transmitted affliction and regrets only that the experience did not not live up to his expectations.
The title suggests that drugs play a much larger role in the novel than they actually do. Vadim’s penchant for the white powder comes along much later in the piece. Naturally what comes up, must come down and Vadim experiences the extreme highs and lows of the stimulant, while weighing up the meaning of life.
Apparently ( well according to the blurb), the real author of this novel is unknown, and the name M. Ageyev is a pseudonym. One wonders whether the reason behind this is the general unsavouriness of Vadim. Thankfully, the writing is compelling and I knocked this one off the list in a few hours.
4 out of 5 grumpy teenagers can cause real damage.