Read Конармия by Isaac Babel Атанас Далчев Online



Title : Конармия
Author :
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ISBN : 9789547398344
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Конармия Reviews

  • BillKerwin
    2019-03-26 09:02

    These laconic, brutal sketches packed with lush, eccentric imagery tell the story of the campaign of the Cossacks of the Red Calvary against the Poles in the days following the revolution.Babel--a Jewish intellectual from the cosmopolitan port city of Odessa--was assigned to a regiment of Cossacks, and he used his sharp eye and outsider's perspective to reveal to his readers the character of these barbarians of the plains. He shows us Cossacks who are violent, merciless, sentimental, cynical, and yet passionately attached to their naive conceptions of revolution. He wrote with great artistry and honesty, so it comes as no surprise to learn that Stalin eventually had him liquidated. (Perhaps Babel himself had less than a realistic concept of "revolution.")

  • Vit Babenco
    2019-04-04 03:05

    Isaac Babel was a witness of history, a partaker of the fratricidal Civil War. And his frightfully and mercilessly graphic Red Cavalry may be considered as a horrifying historical document.The stories are written in the precise, laconic and juicy language and are as vivid as colourful photographs.“Fields of purple poppies flower around us, the noonday wind is playing in the yellowing rye, the virginal buckwheat rises on the horizon like the wall of a distant monastery. The quiet Volyn is curving. The Volyn is withdrawing from us into a pearly mist of birch groves, it is creeping away into flowery knolls and entangling itself with enfeebled arms in thickets of hops. An orange sun is rolling across the sky like a severed head, a gentle radiance glows in the ravines of the thunderclouds and the standards of the sunset float above our heads.”Everything is built on contrasts – the tranquility and beauty of nature opposes the ugliness and ghastliness of man’s doings… “In the billet that has been assigned to me I find a pregnant woman and two red-haired Jews with thin necks: a third is already asleep, covered up to the top of his head and pressed against the wall. In the room that has been allotted to me I find ransacked wardrobes, on the floor scraps of women’s fur coats, pieces of human excrement and broken shards of the sacred vessels used by the Jews once a year, at Passover… An old man is lying there, on his back, dead. His gullet has been torn out, his face has been cleft in two, dark blue blood clings in his beard like pieces of lead.”In civil wars there are neither right nor wrong, there are hatred, evil, enmity, cruelty and rivers of blood.“And truly, I confess, I threw that woman off, down beside the rails, but she, being very coarse, just sat and waved her skirts, and then went her own little low-down way. And, when I saw that woman unharmed, with untold Russia all around her, and the peasants’ fields without an ear of corn, and the violated girls, and the comrades many of whom go to the front but few come back, I wanted to jump down from the wagon and kill myself or kill her. But the Cossacks had pity on me and said:‘Give her one from your rifle.’And taking my trusty rifle from the wall, I wiped that infamy from the face of the working land and the Republic.”And ignorance triumphs.

  • Jim
    2019-04-17 03:26

    Wow! I just got this finished, barely in time to be included in this year's reading challenge! I picked a doozy to finish the year with, from an author I had never heard of writing about an obscure conflict that had occurred without the knowledge or permission of any other chronicler of war, apparently.What a hard book to rate! The work is a book of fiction, on the face of it, written by Babel who actually did accompany Cossack cavalry into Poland when Russia invaded that hapless country shortly after WWI. A book of fiction in which every word has the ring of truth, and no effort is made to conceal the identities of the persons about whom Babel is writing. I wouldn't be surprised if the entire book turned out to be gospel disguised as fiction.It wasn't an easy book for me to read, as it is presented in short story format, and anyone who has glanced over my list of books completed will know that I am not a reader of short stories. Babel presents snippets or vignettes of the invasion, very short and brutal. The book is racing at breakneck pace, just like the cavalry he accompanied. And when they stop, they bring misery in the form of rape, murder, and plunder. None of this is concealed from the reader, and Babel does not try to absolve himself from involvement in some of these excesses. He professes pity for the oppressed Jewry, but finds it hard to conceal his contempt for the Polish Peasantry.Although I didn't care for the format, I noticed immediately that I was in the hands of a master story teller who was brutally and brilliantly efficient in his ability to convey impressions:P. 85:"A sour odor rose from the ground, as from a soldier's wife at dawn."P.194: "The machine guns were dragged up onto a hill like calves on halters.Every page is a treasure of metaphor and simile, so delightful to read that you sometimes miss the horror that Babel is depicting. The last third of the book is a replication of Babel's 1920 diary. It is in note form and repetitive, but is nonetheless interesting. Some people won't like this book, and it isn't my preferred format, but I can't deprive the author of the 5 stars I think are due him. It was a good way to end the year and I hope to read more of his work in the future.

  • Marica
    2019-04-23 05:14

    La CavallarmataBabel nel 1920 era giornalista al seguito della Prima armata a cavallo del Feldmaresciallo Budënnyj, quando la Russia rivoluzionaria cercava di travolgere la Polonia. Quella esperienza venne riversata in un libro molto bello, sincero, indigesto, scritto benissimo. La particolarità del libro sta nell’esprimere contemporaneamente l’amore assoluto dell’autore per la rivoluzione russa e per l’armata cosacca e l’enormità della brutalità e violenza gratuita sugli inermi con la quale la rivoluzione si propagava. Babel certamente non avrà condiviso la ferocia dei cosacchi, ma l’ammirazione per questi guerrieri che portavano avanti l’ideale della rivoluzione fino a cadere a pezzi era più grande. Tale anche da accettare l’assassinio di un vecchio ebreo polacco, proprio lui, che da bambino era scampato a un pogrom.La sincerità è encomiabile per il giornalista e liberatoria per l’uomo, purtroppo a lungo termine non ha ricompensato Babel, che è stato eliminato da Stalin.Babel scrive straordinariamente bene, in una prosa immaginifica ed espressionista e mi fa anche pensare un po’ a Chagall, solo che al posto dell’asino e della capra ci sono i cavalli dei cosacchi. L’altissima qualità della scrittura consente di leggere queste storie, che è giusto conoscere e che aprono varie domande: su quello che si è disposti a fare per ottenere un miglioramento della società; se è necessario per la causa santa e il luminoso scopo commettere atrocità gratuite; come ci si sente quando si passa dall’altra parte del tritacarne rivoluzionario.

  • Yani
    2019-04-13 05:04

    Crudo. Algunos relatos no son tan memorables o parecen muy similares entre sí, pero logran su objetivo: contar e impactar. Varias imágenes se me quedaron pegadas a la mente por la forma en que están descriptas. Ejemplo:Entro y me hiere el brillo de dos plateadas calaveras en la tapa de un féretro roto.Es una de las primeras citas impresionantes que encontré, así que lo que resta es un horror. No podía esperarse menos de historias basadas en la guerra y escritas por un hombre que la conoció de cerca.

  • Bryan Alexander
    2019-04-12 05:16

    A fine edition of a 20th-century Russian classic about a forgotten war.Red Cavalry is a brilliant account of part of the Polish-Soviet War. This grew out of the Russian Revolution and Civil War, as Bolshevik leaders sought to expand their territory, while aiming to provoke revolution in Germany by driving through Poland.A very young Isaac Babel rode with the titular cavalry forces, jotting down his impressions while doing administrative work and trying to get along with Cossacks. Shortly afterward he turned his notes into splendid short stories. They show the chaos of war, the cruelty of soldiers crashing into civilians, the turmoil of a region wracked by multiple invasions and revolts. Stories mix horror with comedy and penetrating descriptions.Red Cavalry also offers a complex narrative voice. The character - one part Babel, one part invention - is Russian and also pro-Soviet, Jewish yet ambivalent about his people. He struggles to understand and describe the revolution. He loves and despises the Jewish communities he comes across. He loves history with a young antiquarian's eye yet fervently wishes the young Soviet power to undo a heritage of oppression. And he fears, loves, is fascinated by, and removed from the Cossacks with whom he rides.I'm fascinated by the stories' mad turns of phrase:Everything has been killed by the silence, and only the moon, clasping its round, shining, carefree head in its blue hands, loiters beneath my window. (39)Like all cooks he scorns mankind. (114)"The International, Comrade, you have no idea how to swallow it!""With gunpowder," I tell the old man, "and seasoned with the best blood." (65)The orange sun is rolling across the sky like a severed head.(39)He knows the meaning of authority, the Germans taught him that. (223)I waited with anxious soul for Romeo to descend from the clouds, a satin Romeo singing of love, while backstage a dejected electrician waits with his finger on the button to turn off the moon.(61)Night came galloping toward me on swift steeds. The wailing of the transport carts deafened the universe; on the earth enveloped by screams the roads faded away. Stars slithered out of the cool gut of the sky, and on the horizon abandoned villages flared up. (135)[T]he terrible field sown with hacked-up men, an inhuman cruelty, inconceivable wounds, crushed skulls, young, white, naked bodies are gleaming in the sun, notebooks lying around, single pages, military booklets, Bibles, bodies in the rye. (246)As historical record/fiction, Red Cavalry is very rich. Without exposition it sketches out parts of the Russian Civil War. Looming throughout the stories is the colossal wreck of World War One, which Russia lost horribly. Leftover trenches dot the landscape, German technology impresses, and we see traces of a short-lived Polish state. All sides in the Polish war use the tachanka, a horse-drawn or cart-mounted machinegun. Small groups of aircraft - fewer than ten at a time - terrorize ground forces lacking their own air cover or anti-aircraft weapons. One Cossack gets shot in the face by airplanes (!) and keeps on fighting, of course (126). Several Soviet military leaders appear by name, who will go on to become major actors in the 1930s and 40s: Timoshenko, Voroshilov. It's a deep glimpse into the time between the two world wars. This edition is unusually rich, in that only one half is the originally published Red Cavalry stories. The book also includes subsequently published tales, along with Babel's fascinating diary and sketches from the time. It includes plentiful notes and useful front matter.Strongly recommended for anyone with a taste for incandescent writing, the short story form, and/or history.

  • Zeb Kantrowitz
    2019-04-14 04:08

    During the Polish-Soviet War of 1920-1921, Isaac Babel was attached to the Red Army Cavalry that fought in Southern Poland. Most of this area had been part of the Russian Empire for centuries and was well known to him. This was also part of the ‘infamous’ Pale of Russia.The Pale of Russia was the eastern part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth before it was partitioned between Austria, Prussia and Russia at the end of the eighteenth century. This was the area that Jews were ghetto-ized into. Most of it was small towns (schtetls) that were little more than a handful of huts and dirt roads.Babel wrote about the good and the bad of the Soviet Army as they tramped through this area fighting the Polish Army and the population. The effect of the war on both the armies and the people are what he wrote about in the diary, he kept during the war.Babel can be both satiric and ironic in his depiction of the violence or war and can be blasé and matter of fact about murder and mayhem. He shows how was can make some men sinners and others saints, and how killing can become mundane.More than anything else, Babel’s narrator deals with the change in status of the Russian-Jewish intelligentsia and how theory changes when confronted with reality. For most socialist intellectuals, the theory of ‘all power to the Soviets’, had been an idea had now become the norm. As Babel found out, effectuating an ideal is much harder than talking about it. Written in a very Russian style of fiction mixed with fact Babel established himself as a new voice in the new Russia. He didn’t ‘clean’ up the language of the troops any more than the horrors they saw or committed. It could easily be American troops in Iraq.Zeb Kantrowitz

  • Kelly
    2019-03-26 03:08

    It's hard to say I *like* this book, given the subject matter of war and death, but I certainly admire Babel's writing. His imagery is both nightmarish and fantastic:"Fields of purple poppies are blossoming around us, a noon breeze is frolicking in the yellowing rye, virginal buckwheat is standing on the horizon like the wall of a faraway monastery... The orange sun is rolling across the sky like a severed head, gentle light glimmers in the ravines among the clouds, the banners of the sunset are fluttering above our heads."The gist of the book -- Babel was a journalist for the Red Army in the 1920 Soviet-Polish war. He was a Jew, posing as not-a-Jew, traveling with a cavalry brigade composed of Cossacks, who were brutalizing a countryside already ravaged by previous wars and previous soldiers. As I said -- I don't like the book, but I admire the writing and the way Babel composes each piece to create a montage of a horror happening to average people.

  • Gideon
    2019-04-18 09:28

    This is Babel's fictionalized account of his journalistic days as a writer for the Krasny Kavalieri - "The Red Cavalry" - the Bolshevik propaganda newspaper written for the Cossack shock troops who marauded the Ukraine and Poland in 1918-1919. As harrowing as any war coverage ever written by Ernest Hemingway, Babel has a precise, beautiful, haunting prose style excellently translated in this Norton Edition. Banned under the Soviet Union, Babel was purged by Stalin for displaying the horrors of war and its unflattering masters instead of the glorious myth of Soviet Revolution. An expressionistic son to the dreamy portraiture that is Turgenev's "Sketches From A Hunter's Notebook"...

  • Tyler
    2019-04-24 05:10

    Red Cavalry consists of around 100 pages of Isaac Babel's Red Cavalry stories, plus another 90 pages of field notes Babel took during the Polish campaign and a few other odds and ends. The stories come in the form of a stream of consciousness that oppresses me by its closed perspective and traps readers in a permanent present. The loosely connected tales have no beginnings and no ends, no character development, nor even any plot to speak of. Lacking any explanations, the stories in no way enlighten readers as to what the Russo-Polish war was about or what actually happened. So the keys to these stories are action and description. Babel goes for pure effect. Each story is richly descriptive, and liking the book is a matter of liking this descriptive approach. They remind me of And Quiet Flows the Don, a book that's stylistically very like this collection. The descriptions are well done, though in places I thought they were over-rich, perhaps to substitute for the lack of normal narrative devices. As with And Quiet Flows the Don, the narrative voice is super masculine, to the point of caricature. This is the third author I've read who has written about Cossacks, a subject of endless fascination to Russians. Of the three, only Tolstoy's The Cossacks has really given me any clear picture of what these people are like.Babel's field notes and the other filler add nothing to the stories. As a demonstration of creative prose this book is fine. Otherwise, readers can safely pass it by.

  • Czarny Pies
    2019-03-28 04:58

    This is an excellent collection of stories the horrors of war. I found it to be of the same outstanding quality as Erich Maria Remarque's "All quiet on the Western Front." The big question is having read one or two books in the genre why would you want to continue. I leave this question to you. My interested in Babel's book came from the fact that it involved the atrocities committed by the Communist Cossacks in the Polish-Russian War of 1918-1920 that my wife's grandfather participated in on the Polish side.Even after having recently read Jonathon Littell's horrific Kindly Ones three years ago, Babel was still able to shock and disgust me. Babel was assigned as a journalist to the Cossack Cavalry that invaded Poland with the communist forces. All in all he presented a rather dim view of his side whose cruelty easily surpasses that of the Poles.Babel makes no effort to hide his sympathies for the large number of Jews that lived in the area that the Russians and the Poles. The Poles were slaughtered by the Russian Cossacks. The Ukrainians were slaughtered by the Poles. The Jews got it first from the Poles and then from the Russian Cossacks. Babel writes: "Khmelnitsky, now Budyonny, the unfortunate Jewish population, everything repeats itself, once again the same story of Poles, Cossacks and Jews is repeating itself with striking exactness, what is new is Communism."Needless to say, Babel is hardly expressing the proper party line. All in all it is quite surprising that the Communists waited until 1941 before they liquidated him.

  • Alex Zakharov
    2019-04-23 02:06

    Dmitry Bykov was in town giving a talk on Babel so I decided to refresh my memory with Konarmia… Well, a refresh I wanted – and blown mind I got! This small collection of short stories written in 1920s, is shocking both in its content (an absolutely brutal raw description of Russian civil war) and its form (harsh, vivid, sometimes fantastical language, ferocious in its intensity and expressivity). Imagine listening to the 4th movement of Mahler’s Symphonie Fantastique in a locked room with Schiele’s paintings – just a dreadful, dark and incredibly affecting experience. Sadly if you don’t speak Russian the linguistic shock value of the book will be lost on you. In fact Bykov made an emphatic point that all existing Babel’s translations are subpar, although the rumor has it that a new one is coming out. Till then an English speaker can still marvel at the story plots themselves and at the fact that a Jew from pale of settlement managed to write a book right after the revolution depicting the cruelty of Red army soldiers, have an affair with Yezhov’s wife a few years later, and still manage not to get executed till 1939.

  • Monique Gerke
    2019-04-10 07:00

    O exército de cavalaria é composto por 34 textos, que contam de forma real e um pouco ficcional, através de outro narrador, a passagem de Bábel pelos exércitos vermelhos, os exércitos de Lênin e Trotski, na guerra contra a Polônia.São textos violentos, com cheiro de sangue. Mas o narrador da história não trata isso como anormal. Tudo que é contado nos relatos não possui emoção ou arrebatamento, é como se fosse mais um dia comum de tortura, estupro, morte e fome na vida dos soldados.Minha expectativa com relação a esse livro era completamente diferente do que foi apresentado. Mas longe de ser decepcionante, gostei da leitura e da experiência. Recomendo!

  • Bjorn
    2019-03-29 09:08

    Ravaged countrysides, ravaged people turning on each other. Cosacks weeping over dead horses while corpses pile up. Civilians trying to survive. Hayrides armed with machine guns. Our hero finds himself pissing on a dead Polish soldier, covered in ripped up propaganda leaflets. Synagogues burning, 20 years before Hitler made it official. The word "Czernobyl" pops up once or twice for extra emphasis. Even harsher in hindsight.

  • Alan
    2019-04-17 05:22

    Absolutely stunning. Babel is a favourite of mine, up near the top.Read an article today (July 09) about him on Narrative: me want to go and dig out my copy immediately. (I will when I get home from work).I notice no friends have this on GR. I can't believe none have read him. Is it because it's so obvious it doesn't need saying? (or maybe the comments are on another edition, I've noticed that in the past).

  • Hadrian
    2019-03-26 05:17

    A set of violent snapshots of the Cossacks of the Russian Revolution. Tragic and blood-drenched and poignant.

  • Jaap
    2019-04-12 07:13

    Ik las het boek omdat het is uitgekozen als boek van de maand in de leesclub van De Correspondent. De verhalen van Babel zijn huiveringwekkend én prachtig. Een vreemde combinatie die me nog het meest doet denken aan maanlicht op een uitgestrekt natuurgebied - alles staat in een koude gloed, schaduwen zijn zwarter en het licht is witter. Ik kan de verhalen meer waarderen wanneer ik ze hardop voorlees.

  • Natalie Tyler
    2019-04-14 09:28

    Isaac Babel, a Ukrainian from Odessa, is one of the best known short-story authors of the 20th century. Red Cavalry demonstrates the horrors of war. Its focus is on the Red Army’s Soviet invasion into Poland, which occurred for two years (1919-1921). The collection of short stories was based on Babel’s diary written while he was a journalist covering the First Cavalry Army of the Soviet’s. His diary has been transformed into horrifying stories which reveal the atrocities of war and of anti-Semitism. Most of the stories are only a few pages long. The titles are revealing: “Te Death of Dolgushov,” “The Cemetery in Kozin,” “Treason,” “After the Battle.” Babel does not hesitate to look at the reality of human nature: One Cossack is described as an “indefatigable lout…future ragpicker, carefree syphilitic, and leisurely liar”. A woman who cooks for a Catholic priest produces biscuits which contain “the sly sap and sweet-scented fury of the Vatican.” They pass through “lifeless Jewish shtels” and witness many atrocities. Babel depicts the humanity and the inhumanity of people; the banality and the enormous destruction of war; the love of little animals and the guilt of participating in the blood-letting. There are some spots of beauty within the grotesque violence.Babel, a wise and witty writer, was killed in Stalin’s “gulag”.

  • Mandy
    2019-04-09 01:01

    Isaac Babel’s collection of short stories entitled Red Cavalry was published in 1926 and is a classic of Soviet literature. It deals with incidents of the Civil War and the 1920 campaign against Poland led by Cossacks under Budyonny’s command. It focuses on the conflict between the intellectual protagonist and the violent soldiers and the contradiction between the actions of the ruthless revolutionary soldiers and their idealistic, although usually inarticulate aspirations. Babel doesn’t flinch from confronting man’s inhumanity to his fellow man, and the casual brutality where killing becomes just a routine every day activity. There’s some graphic violence in these tales, but it is always offset but flashes of lyricism and poeticism and a constant awareness of the beauty of life. Often shocking, sometimes tender, this newly translated collection is essential reading for anyone interested in Soviet literature, or indeed for anyone interested in the literature of war.

  • Caroline
    2019-03-29 09:15

    Alice Munro must love Isaac Babel:"I mourn for the bees. They have been destroyed by warring armies. There are no longer any bees in Volhynia.We desecrated the hives. We fumigated them with sulfur and detonated them with gunpowder. Smoldering rags have spread a foul stench over the holy republics of the bees. Dying, they flew slowly, their buzzing barely audible. Deprived of bread, we procured honey with our sabers. There are no longer any bees in Volhynia." (The Road to Brody)"And whenever the obdurate will of war brought us together, we sat in the evenings on a sparkling earth mound, or boiled tea in our sooty kettle in the woods, or slept next to each other on harvested fields, our hungry horses tied to our legs." (Sashka Christ)All 4 pages of Salt.5 stars for this Peter Constantine translation, and this Norton edition.

  • william ellison
    2019-04-07 09:25

    Grim Fairy TalesThe text of these short tales flows best as bare narrative, though Babel desperately tries yo embroider them with fiery and original imagery which fails to distract from the callous savagery of the action and indeed in many ways complements it in an unexpected and almost garish light. Echoes of Gorky prose and even Chekhov's consideration of the imperial poor. But a whole new level to the single minded execution of revolutionary duty. Makes it grotesque and fascinating though one suspects it may have been received with pride in the devotion and loyalty of the sixth division and even a grim humour at the inherent ironies of the situation.

  • Andrew
    2019-04-23 04:58

    Short stories of Isaac Babel. They're humorous in that the narrator is a Jew in a regiment of Cossacks - he doesn't really fit in, and he doesn't ignore the cultural differences of Jews and Cossacks. If you liked Catch 22, I think you'd like this one too.

  • Ann Catteeuw
    2019-04-24 04:23


  • frisco - فریسکو
    2019-04-03 03:01

    Nella prefazione al volume che ripresentava le opere di Babel' al lettore sovietico nel 1957 Il'ja Erenburg scriveva: «Nell'Armata a cavallo non c'è una difesa avvocatesca della rivoluzione, difesa di cui la rivoluzione non ha bisogno. Gli eroi dell'Armata a cavallo sono a volte feroci, a volte buffi: in essi c'è una esuberanza e una sfrenatezza primaverile. Ma della giustezza della causa per cui essi combattono e muoiono è compenetrato tutto il libro, anche se se l'autore e i protagonisti non ne parlano. Per Babel' i combattenti dell'Armata a cavallo non erano gli eroi schematici che s'incontravano nella nostra letteratura, ma uomini vivi, coi loro pregi e i loro vizi. Se nel secolo passato alcuni scrittori vedevano gli alberi senza vedere il bosco, noi abbiamo conosciuto scrittori sovietici ai quali il bosco impediva di scorgere gli alberi. Nell'Armata a cavallo c'è la fiumana, la valanga, la tempesta e in essa ogni uomo ha un suo volto, suoi sentimenti, un suo linguaggio. [...]. Dell'amore che i vecchi cattolici chiamavano "carnale" e i puritani odierni definiscono "animalesco", Babel' scriveva francamente, senza ipocrito pudore. Il "cupo fosco fuoco del desiderio" di cui parlava Tjutčev attirava Babel' perchè questo fuoco illuminava non la maschera dell'uomo, ma la sua faccia. L'amore di Babel' per Maupassant non può essere riferito alla maniera letteraria dello scrittore francese. Se si deve parlare di affinità di Babel' con gli altri scrittori stranieri, vengono in mente piuttosto gli americani degli anni venti e trenta del nostro secolo: Hemingway, Caldwell, Steinbeck. Come loro, Babel' cercava non di raccontare l'uomo, ma di mostrare l'uomo e, al par di essi, evitava le proprie disquisizioni e attribuiva un grande significato al dialogo».

  • Brian Gramman
    2019-04-08 05:22

    I don't have too many thoughts about the stories in the Red Cavalry cycle. Isaac Babel doesn't leave much room for interpretation, which makes sense, seeing as this is basically a chronicle of the Polish-Soviet War with a few names changed. As far as what I've read in this genre, Babel stands out, but this style has never been the kind of thing to pique my interest. I struggle to fully appreciate quality prose when it's chopped up into so many different snapshots of war.My appreciation for the book is also certainly affected by the fact that I didn't read the last 100 pages, which were made up of Babel's diary from 1920. I admit I don't have too many principles, but I feel very uncomfortable with reading someone's personal thoughts that they neither sent to anyone else nor intended to ever publish. I totally get the value of such a source and don't judge anyone for reading it (and I'm fine with Babel's daughter deciding to publish it), but I'm not going to read something if I don't feel like I was ever meant to read it.If you're looking for conclusions to draw from the book, there's really only one that stands out. Being a Jew in Poland in the first half of the 20th century must've just been the worst. If you find that compelling, check the book out. Other than that, unfortunately, Red Cavalry felt supplemental to me rather than essential.

  • Paul
    2019-04-06 05:03

    A collection of short stories written from the front line of the Polish-Soviet War of around 1920, by Isaac Babel. Despite having read a lot of Russian literature, this is the first time I have read any of Babel's writings, and he had a fascinating life that itself tells the story of early 20th century Russia. It took me a while to get into these stories, as they are quite emotionally detached and understated. It can be hard to unpick the reportage from the fiction, and the squalor and violence always seems at the periphery of the narrator's bespectacled vision. However as the book goes on, and I understood the tone, and started to recognise characters that recur, I warmed to it. Unsettling in places, with no attempt to flag up "goodies and baddies" to you, the reader becomes a detached observer too by the end.

  • solitaryfossil
    2019-04-08 06:19

    During the Russian-Polish War 1919-1921, Isaac Babel was a journalist and propagandist with the Red Army. The first half of this book contains short stories, bringing the horror of war into focus. Babel describes the Polish towns, the Cossacks and Red Cavalry battles, the shteles and pogroms against the Jewish population. A true nightmare of destruction and violence, but written with clarity and insight. Very well done, a fine collection of short stories, gruesome as they are.The second half is made up of diary entries and sketches for the coming book. A really excellent writer, Babel was killed in Stalin’s Great Purge, in 1940.Recommended.

  • Dan
    2019-04-16 07:24

    this felt like a taste of real war, revolution, civilisational collapse and a tour of western russia/ukraine/poland/belarus a century ago when they were full of ethnic antagonisms much as now but with an additional well-established jewish population. babel has humanity and poetry in him, but also recounts his own part as a cog in the revolutionary war machine. from what i understand, this book launched him on his way to literary celebrity in soviet russia, as well as ultimately imprisonment and execution. exciting horrible place and time that i am glad to have missed in person, but it is very affecting reading of it.

  • Carlos
    2019-04-25 06:22

    Ruínas humanas na infância da revoluçãoVocê provavelmente não conhece Isaac Bábel (1894 – 1940) - e muitos dos que conhecem, incluindo eu, só tiveram contato com sua obra depois que o autor foi mencionado no romance Vastas Emoções e Pensamentos Imperfeitos, de Rubem Fonseca, no qual um cineasta brasileiro era levado à União Soviética para trabalhar no roteiro de um longa-metragem que adaptava um fictício romance de Bábel, encontrado anos depois de sua morte. Depois do livro de Fonseca, aquela que é considerada a obra-prima do escritor russo, A Cavalaria Vermelha, chegou a ser lançada pela Ediouro. Décadas depois, o mesmo livro voltou às livrarias em sua primeira tradução diretamente do russo (a anterior baseava-se em versões inglesas e francesas ). A nova versão assinada por Aurora Fornoni Bernardini e Homero Freitas de Andrade alterou o nome da obra para O Exército de Cavalaria.Numa literatura russa já por si desconcertante em sua riqueza, Bábel é uma figura de destaque e, paradoxalmente, pouco conhecida. O próprio Máximo Górki o considerava um representante do que de melhor a Rússia tinha para oferecer em termos de literatura, e mesmo assim Bábel é um autor sem renome. Parte dessa condição se deve a ele ter publicado pouco em vida. Outra parte pode ser atribuída a uma cortina de silêncio envergonhado jogada pela intelectualidade de esquerda – considerado romântico, decadentista e contra-revolucionário, Bábel foi preso e mais tarde morto durante os expurgos do sombrio período stalinista (1924-1953). Muitos de seus escritos inéditos foram queimados pelo regime. Os 36 contos de Bábel reunidos em O Exército de Cavalaria são resultado de um período que o autor passou, como soldado raso e correspondente do jornal militar O Cavalariano Vermelho, junto às tropas da cavalaria russa durante a sangrenta guerra de fixação de fronteiras com a Polônia, entre 1920 e 1921. Os cavalarianos, no caso, não eram simples russos, mas os folclóricos cossacos, cavaleiros que valorizavam sua liberdade individual, independente de fronteiras, e tinham prazer pelo combate.A leitura dos contos, muito curtos, alguns não ultrapassando duas páginas, é, também, uma forma de entender por que Bábel se tornou uma vítima inevitável da intolerância comunista. Repletas de violência e barbárie, contadas com um tom econômico e ao mesmo tempo coalhado de metáforas e sugestivas imagens, as histórias de Bábel são narradas em primeira pessoa, quase todas do ponto de vista de um único personagem, Kiril Vassílievitch Liútov, jovem judeu agregado ao batalhão de cossacos e um alter ego do próprio Isaac Bábel, judeu nascido em Odessa e ele próprio um militante revolucionário, por certo tempo.São textos que flutuam entre a crônica e o conto – muitas vezes a história é um fiapo narrativo, mero pretexto para a recriação de uma atmosfera. No limite, seus textos são também uma crua análise do paradoxo inescapável do intelectual, aquele que, por definição, seria o responsável pela crítica e pela reflexão de modo a pautar a ação transformadora do mundo. Nas narrativas de Bábel, esse intelectual, que vem a ser ele mesmo, não influi na voragem da verdadeira ação transformadora, a da violência, pautada pelos mais atávicos instintos.O olhar do escritor é o de um homem ao mesmo tempo horrorizado com a brutalidade dos que estão à sua volta e fascinado pela nobreza rude daquelas figuras de resoluta ignorância. Em muitas das histórias do livro, o protagonista, por um urgente artifício narrativo, entrega a palavra a outros personagens, acentuando o caráter de testemunha deslocada que o autor assume perante suas criaturas. É o caso, por exemplo, do brutal Uma Carta, no qual um jovem conta com minúcias, em uma correspondência a sua mãe, a maneira pela qual matou o próprio pai – militar do exército inimigo que já havia, por sua vez, assassinado antes seu outro filho, irmão do rapaz que assina a carta.Em uma época em que a experiência comunista recém aflorava com a promessa de uma utopia igualitária, o que Bábel testemunha – às vezes abandonando o papel passivo de observador e cedendo ao jogo – é a repetição das atávicas estruturas de dominação pela força. Uma das mais belas narrativas do livro, Guedáli, é apenas um diálogo do narrador com o dono de uma loja de quinquilharias, judeu como ele, na véspera do Sabá. Para o idoso comerciante, do alto de suas barbas ancestrais, a violência utópica da Revolução e a violência reacionária dos poloneses não faz lá muita diferença: "Mas o polonês estava atirando, meu caro pan, porque ele era a contra-revolução. E vocês atiram porque são a Revolução.O contraste entre o que prega a revolução em que Bábel acredita e o que ele efetivamente vê, e às vezes faz, nas vastidões geladas da fronteira é uma das molas do livro. Em Meu Primeiro Ganso, Bábel/Liútov se apresenta à companhia em que servirá e é achincalhado pelo comandante por usar óculos. Designado para um alojamento numa casa ocupada, é hostilizado pelos cossacos que dividirão o lugar com ele (um deles, mais violento, pega o baú em que estão as coisas de Liútov e o arremessa violentamente, quebrando-o). A violência só cessa quando o protagonista esmaga com os próprios pés o ganso da dona da casa em que está alojado e a obriga, sob violenta coerção, a cozinhá-lo para ele. É só aí que Liútov ganha o respeito dos demais: "O rapaz é dos nossos disse um deles, deu uma piscada e pegou uma colherada de chtchi".

  • Jair Ibarra
    2019-04-18 01:18

    Tardé un rato en encontrarle el tono y el ritmo pero una vez que le encontré, todo se fue en sufrir y sufrir. ¿Si no hay miseria, sufrimiento y desgracia, realmente es una novela rusa?Una novela qué trata de la guerra pero que no habla sobre batalla alguna, más bien habla sobre la desesperanza y la miseria que produce la guerra en los soldados desconocidos y los civiles que los tratan, todo aderezado a ver como las promesas de los soviets se iban desvaneciendo.