Death and the Penguin

“Death and the Penguin” by Andrey Kurkov (Ukraine)

Favourite Quote

He had, it seemed, divined the secret of longevity. Longevity depended on peace. Peace was the source of self-assurance, and self-assurance allowed one to cleanse one’s life of needless upsets, twists and turns. Self-assurance allowed one to take decisions for the prolonging of one’s life. Self-assurance led to the future.


Viktor is an aspiring writer with only Misha, his pet penguin, for company. Although he would prefer to write short stories, he earns a living composing obituaries for a newspaper. He longs to see his work published, yet the subjects of his obituaries continue to cling to life. But when he opens the newspaper to see his work in print for the first time, his pride swiftly turns to terror. He and Misha have been drawn into a trap from which there appears to be no escape… Read more

Nicola’s Creative Reading Group reading list

Year 4 – “Eastern Europe and the Middle East” (Oct 2009 – Jun 2010)

“Too Loud a Solitude” by Bohumil Hrabal (Czech Republic)
“The Door” by Magda Szabó (Hungary)
“The Last Supper” by Pawel Huelle (Poland)
“Death and the Penguin” by Andrey Kurkov (Ukraine)
“The Bastard of Istanbul” by Elif Shafak (Turkey)
“Cell Block Five” by Fadhil Al-Azzawi (Iraq)
“Girls of Riyadh” by Rajaa Alsanea (Saudi Arabia)
“To Know a Woman” by Amos Oz (Israel)
“Samarkand” by Amin Maalouf (Lebanon)

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