In the 1970s the Strugatsky brothers’ science-fiction novels were wildly popular in the USSR. This novel was their favorite, but was so politically risky that it was kept secret and only published in the late 1980s, sixteen years after it was completed. It is a dark novel about an experimental city, inhabited by people transported from many places and many times, all struggling to make sense of senseless rules. It is a nightmarish, unpleasant, gritty book. I have enjoyed other Strugatsky books, but this one was too much for me. Its satire was far too depressing, and left me feeling far too uncomfortable. Of course that was their purpose, but I just couldn’t handle it.
eGalley review Publication date 7.1.16