Dmitry Glukhovsky – Metro 2035 Audiobooktext
Dmitry Glukhovksy is a Russian author born in 1979 in Moscow, who before becoming a writer worked as a journalist for television stations such as Russia Today, Euronews and Deutsche Welle. He studied international relations in Jerusalem, before starting to write his first novel Metro 2033 in 2002. The latter appeared in 2005 and was a huge success. It has sold over 400,000 copies in Russia and has been translated into over 20 languages. In 2010, a video game was released directly inspired by his work under the same name. This first novel is the beginning of a saga whose second novelMetro 2034 was published in 2009, and the third, Metro 2035, at L’Atalante last March.
As its title indicates, the story takes place in 2033 in a post-apocalyptic world where the population has been killed as a result of a nuclear conflict. Since then, it is impossible to live on the surface as the radiation rate is enormous, which gave birth to mutant creatures. In order to survive, the men are holed up in the Moscow metro trains where every ancient vestige of civilization (electricity, water) is a luxury. Among them is the young Arytom, an orphan since the nuclear war, and owes his salvation to a man with whom he lives in a station he has never left. But as life is never a long river, mutants sometimes manage to get into the tunnels in order to decimate the rest of the survivors. Then a quest is born, led by a certain Hunter who will drag the youngster, to his dismay, with him on a mission whose success will be decisive for the inhabitants of the metro.
Like many readers, I couldn’t escape the noise surrounding the publication of this paperback book ten months ago. The post-apocalyptic universe not being my favorite, I still risked discovering this story. Why ? Simply because in my eyes Russian authors, whether they are contemporary, romantic or thriller, have a very particular dark side. It is therefore with the hope of regaining this quality that I immersed myself in Metro 2033.
If I had to cite the first quality that comes to mind about this novel, it would be its universe. With these kilometers of endless metro lines it would be easy to get lost. Besides, it is smart to discover a map of the said metro in the flap of the cover. enough to guide us, the readers, in our underground exploration of Russian capital. In these galleries several factions have been created in order to establish a sort of “law of the jungle” where respect and fear are the key words. Of course, the human being not knowing how to behave as it should, even after a nuclear war, conflicts arise between the rival groups, as much from the social, political and philosophical point of view. On several occasions I remained in disbelief in the face of the ideas of some, as if human stupidity had no limit. If some perimeters (or here, stations) are occupied others are empty of all tenants because of urban stories that whisper from ear to ear, such as unexplained deaths, disappearances, etc. suddenly, all these elements give Glukhovsky’s story a sinister and unpredictable atmosphere.
Our journey begins with meeting Arytom who, as I said above, finds himself on a quest. This one turns out to be quite close to that of Ulysses inOdysseyHomer’s. Indeed, with each new meeting our underground hero comes up against a different thought from his or from the previous ones encountered. Through his discussions, the young man builds his own vision while having to be careful not to be killed. I won’t hide from you that at first it is difficult to get attached to him as his personality is almost non-existent. However, over the pages we feel a certain compassion for him, seeing the fear of seeing him fail, without however entering completely into osmosis with him. This is precisely one of the faults that I noticed during my reading. The others would be the lack of emphasis on female characters, who are simply confined to lesser tasks without one of them standing out from the others. Pity. In terms of the other characters, the one that struck me the most is that of Khan. A kind of charismatic philanthropist, the latter presents himself as the last reincarnation of Genghis Kan. Just that yes. Both manipulative and subtle, Khan possesses a character that makes him difficult to pin down.
style Dmitry Glukhovsky’s is fluid and interesting to read from a philosophical point of view and brings some reflection on how we operate. Nonetheless, the narrative suffers from a few lengths here and there, which makes the evolution a bit repetitive at times. But as a whole, the plot holds together very well, and we quickly see that the author took the time to build something coherent and that he had fun.
Quick note on the edition of the Pocket Book that I find really remarkable for its map of the vast Moscow metro, but also at the level of the translation which was not necessarily easy.
In conclusion, despite the few flaws that I could find in Metro 2033, I come away with a fairly positive result of my reading. As I expected Glukhovsky’s pen makes this already gloomy basic universe even more sinister. Between contemporary inspiration and initiatory questMetro 2033 manages to distinguish itself through the oppressive pen of the author who pays homage to the genre of science fiction. A reading which afterwards will make that you will not look at metro trains in the same way.