Sticking with Russian authors and by default staying with the theme of living with an oppressive system this book is by someone, Yuri Trifonov, I have never heard of before. The beauty of second-hand charity shops is that you end up getting a choice of books that you have never seen before and don’t have to pay a huge amount for. As a result though you start off with just the dust jacket blurb which indicates that this was a writer who managed to win respect of Soviet writers because of the way he managed to make comments about the system by focusing in on the day-to-day lives of his characters.
Highlights from the first 14 pages
You start by being introduced to Glebov who is heading out to a furniture store to buy a table when he meets an old acquaintance Shulepnikov who refused to acknowledge him when greeted. Later that night he phones up Glebov and tells him that he did recognise him but didn’t want to talk to him because he never liked him. That starts some memories going where Glebov remembers ho popular, confident and influential Shulepnikov was when they were at school but there are numerous indications that things went wrong for the student.