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I devour books and find it near impossible not to finish a book, but this one came close. I am sure that it's an authentic representation of Russia at the time (1990s?) - somewhat grey and depressing - and although I didn't hate it, it wasn't the sort of book I'd pick up again.
On the plus side, the story was beautifully written and well-observed, perhaps useful for someone interested in Russia from a fictional perspective.
On the down side, I found it slow, not funny in the least, with largely unsympathetic characters.
Judging by all the positive reviews, perhaps it's just me, but I did find myself having to force myself to continue.