Penguin Lost by Andrey Kurkov

‘It took Viktor three days to recover from the four spent crossing Drake Passage.’

At the end of ‘Death and the Penguin’, Viktor was fleeing vengeance on an Antarctica-bound flight which had been booked for Misha the penguin.  Viktor has an opportunity to return to Kiev with a new identity.  Once back in Kiev, Viktor tries to find Misha.  Viktor feels bad (as he should) for abandoning poor Misha who was recovering from a heart transplant and who would really have been much happier in Antarctica.

So, how will Viktor set about finding Misha?  How hard can it be to track down an Emperor Penguin who has had a heart transplant?  Viktor’s journey will start with a Mafia boss who wants his help with an election campaign and will take him to Chechnya.  Misha is rumoured to be in a private zoo in Chechnya, but Viktor cannot approach directly.  He finds himself in some awkward, dangerous and difficult positions as he attempts to find out where Misha is.

Can there be a happy ending to this story?  Perhaps.  But the journey is not straightforward.  And Viktor’s personal life is very complicated.

I strongly recommend reading ‘Death and the Penguin’ before reading this novel. Both are sad and humorous. Both are darkly satirical with more than a hint of absurdity.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith


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