Translated from the Russian by George Bird
Sick of life?
Suicide the answer?
Why not get yourself a contract killer?
Nothing easier, provided you communicate only by phone and box number. You give him your photograph, specify when and where to find you, then sit back and prepare to die.
Murdered, you will be of greater interest than ever you were in life. More to him than met the eye will be the judgment. A mysterious killing lives long in the popular memory.
Our hero meticulously plans his own demise, except for one detail: what if he suddenly decides he wants to live?
Opening: If I had smoked it might have been easier. Then each matrimonial sulk could have been followed by a cigarette or two, smoke and nicotine becoming for a while more a distraction than the sense and savour of life – like incense burnt for its own sake – and maybe even helping me discern some glimmer of joy in continued existence.
Here I am again in Kurkovian Kiev where the Dnieper waters run noir and rumour has it that there may be an assassination.
Grigory Skovoroda – first Ukranian Buddhist (page 12)
Not much further to say for a 111 page short story where the book description has dealt with the salient issues, except of course, I enjoy Kurkov and am now hunting one of his concerning a thumb. have you read it?
3.5* Death and the Penguin
4* Penguin Lost
3.5* A Matter of Life and Death