Strugatsky, Arkady & Boris, “The Snail on the Slope”

If you see something without understanding it, you may as well have thought it all up. I’m living it, seeing it, and not understanding it; I’m living in a world that someone else has thought up without bothering to explain it to be, or maybe even to themselves… I am longing to understand. That’s what I’m stuck with: the longing to understand.

Essential book information

Basic plot summary

A science-fiction novel depicting paralleling stories of two protagonists Perets and Candid facing two sides of the same phenomenon – The Forest. Perets spends his days in a bureaucratic jungle of the Forest Administration, an organisation seemed to be in charge of the exploration and putting to use of The Forest, except that no one seems to ever be going there. Candid is an ex-employee of the Forest Administration,  who crashed into The Forest and suffers major amnesia, adapting to a life of a mere man of the street with no administrative power and higher purpose to serve.


Brilliant as ever, A&B Strugatsky mock the debilitating influence of a bureaucratic system whose sole purpose is to sustain itself, caring little about anything than the functioning of the system itself. Known to me from my childhood and read in original beautiful language of A&B, I was positively surprised this masterpiece has not lost an ounce of its appeal in English. Vivid and impressive, the chaotic storytelling of brothers brings out the importance of awareness, conscious life and asking the right questions as well as acting upon the answers instead of simply following the rules blindly. 

My recommendation

A strong and resolute yes. Those of you who are less familiar with that a Soviet society was like and how the bureaucratic machine worked, this might be not the easiest book to start familiarising yourself with the creative work of brothers Strugatsky – please take a look here to choose any other of their works, they are all worth reading 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s