5 November 2021

John Berger reads Andrey Platonov

Posted by Gareth Evans

Marking what would have been John Berger’s 95th birthday, and 70 years since the death of the great Russian writer Andrey Platonov, we’re delighted to present the world-exclusive recording (made by Andrea Luka Zimmerman) of John’s complete reading of Platonov’s short story ‘Love for the Motherland, or A Sparrow's Journey,’ which you can listen to here.

First published in English, in the wonderful translation by Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler, in the collection Happy Moscow, it was reprinted with the recording in a stand-alone edition, now sold out, by House Sparrow Press.

Berger described Platonov as “[understanding] living modern poverty more deeply than any other storyteller I have come across.” With their voices echoing across time and place, both Platonov and Berger’s writing asserts the importance of solidarity and coexistence between creatures, and the joys – and costs – of trying to live honourably in a dishonourable age – a message truly central and necessary to our times.

Thank you to Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler, Edwin Frank and all at New York Review Books.