Daily Archives: April 11, 2015

Deal Me In, Week 15 ~ “Electrification”


Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“Electrification” by Mikhail Zoshchenk

Card picked: King of Hearts

From: Online

Thoughts: One of the shortest pieces I’ve read for Deal Me In this year.

During the 1920s, there was a massive plan to “electrify” the newly formed Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic. Lenin believed that modernity could be brought to the whole of Russia through electricity for everyone. Zoshchenk’s little parable is about a couple whose building is recently hooked up. In the bright light, they see just how depressing their surroundings are:

In our room, for instance, we had a sofa. I’d always though it wasn’t a bad sofa – even quite a good sofa! In the evenings I used to sit on it. But now with this electricity – heavens above! Some sofa! Bits sticking up, bits hanging down, bits falling out. How can I sit on such a sofa? My soul protests.

The husband’s solution is to try and spruce the place up. He spends quite a bit of money on whitewash. His wife, she has a different solution.

This is a satire aimed at communism: “light” would bring dissatisfaction to the Russian people when they finally “see” their surroundings. Generally, I’m not a fan such, which often makes Russian literature a challenge for me, but Zoshchenk is quick and funny. This is might be the most charming satire of communism I’ve ever read.