Penguin Lost finds Viktor Zolotaryov sneaking back into Kiev under an assumed identity to undertake a dangerous mission: He wants to find Misha, his penguin, whom he fears has fallen into the hands of the criminal mob looking for Viktor himself.
Guilt-ridden and determined to do what it takes, Viktor falls in with a Mafia boss who employs him in an election-rigging campaign, in return for introducing Viktor to other mobsters who can help him find Misha. And as Viktor goes from mobster to mobster, trying to survive in Kiev’s criminal underground, the evidence mounts that Misha may be someplace even worse: the zoo of a Chechen warlord.
What ensues is for Viktor both a quest and an odyssey of atonement, and for the reader, a stirring mix of the comic and the tragic, the heartbreaking and the inspiring.
"Kurkov writes short, sly, page-turners that specialize in what we might call absurdist noir." —John Powers, NPR's Fresh Air
“Anyone who gave themselves the pleasure of reading Death and the Penguin should certainly treat themselves to this sequel. And if you missed it, never mind, read this one anyway: it’s delicious.” —The Spectator “There is more magic in his realism than in a library of witches and wizards.” —Scotland on Sunday
“Rich, authentic, and entertaining.” —The New Statesman Praise for Kurkov's Death and the Penguin
“A striking portrait of post-Soviet isolation.... In this bleak moral landscape Kurkov manages to find ample refuge for his dark humor.” —The New York Times
“Delicious... when Viktor finally finds Misha it is as if Woody Allen had gone to meet Kurtz.” —The Spectator
“The deadpan tone works perfectly, and it will be a hard-hearted reader who is not touched by Viktor’s relationship with his unusual pet.” —The Times (London)