In what remains of Moscow some two hundred years after the "Blast," a community persists in primitive, ridiculous, and often brutal circumstances. Mice are the current source of food, clothes, and commerce, as well as a source of humor for Tatyana ...
Tolstaya. Owning books in this society is prohibited by the tyrant, who plagiarizes the old masters, becoming his people"s sole writer. One of the tyrant"s scribes, Benedikt, is the main narrator of The Slynx. He is in love with books as objects but is unable to derive any meaning or moral benefit from them. Like the imagined, feared animal of this rollicking satirical novel"s title, Benedikt represents lust, cruelty, egotism, and ignorance. The Slynx and Benedikt are one. As Pearl K. Bell wrote of Tolstaya"s stories on the cover of the New York Times Book Review, "The blazing vitality of [her] imagination, the high-spirited playfulness . . . place her in that uniquely Russian line of satirists and surrealists." David Remnick has called her "the most promising of all the "post-Soviet" writers . . . She sounds like no one else."