Once Vladimir Voinovich was a very important writer in this part of the world - he was one of the so-called dissidents, he wrote about the private Chonkin - a legend in terms of underground literature, he was even extradicted from his native country. But nowadays he`s basically an old fart. Ok, that is a tough thing to say about an old man who has suffered quite much in his life, but it`s still true. This book, for example, it`s basically autobiographical and it`s bound to show how much he has gone through in his life. Well, and how much is that? Not that much actually. Ok, he had some hard time when nobody published his works in the USSR, he had no telephone, a small apartment- but he didn`t starve for he had money from books published in the West, he had a loving wife, he wasn`t physically hurt - although he claims that he was poisoned once and even writes about it for something like 150 pages, but I guess there were millions of people in the USSR who had it tougher than he did, only most of them weren`t as talented as he was, therefore their sufferings weren`t worth that much. Ok, he doesn`t claim to be the only one who had his problems with the regime but he surely seems to be quite a brave character who went through snow and rain (I meant to say that instead of fire and ice) in order to achieve something. Overblown, too much elderly sexuality like only a really old pervert could write, and not particulary much to say - that`s all this book can offer, by the way - I have no idea what good this book is already now - it`s been 15 years since the Union collapsed and Soviet bureaucracy doesn`t seem to be a problem to me nowadays.