The Return by Andrey Platonov

The Return

Andrey Platonov

Ten stories of people on the move, fleeing from cruelty and poverty, yearning for death or a better life. Gruesome descriptions of want and pain make this a harrowing read. But the folktale style gives life to inanimate objects and transforms your experience of this bleak world.


But the timid, infrequent splashing of the water against the empty shore of Lake Onega brought calm to the soul of the lodger: if you cannot live like a human being, if you must always live in fear, then why try to be a human being? Better to become water, earth or wind. His wife and child had also stopped being people, but they existed somewhere - even if only as wind, water and earth - and they were near by; he could feel them together with him, in the same world as him, in his one heart.

  • Second Harvest by Jean Giono
  • The Periodic Table by Primo Levi

Books with similar mood

Assorted Fire Events

David Means

Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys

Will Self

A Brief Excursion & Other Stories

Antun Soljan


Anakana Schofield


Craig Raine

The Scent of your Breath

Melissa P

Ridin an Risin

Jacob Ross and Andrea Enisuoh (eds)

The New Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories

David Leavitt

Monkey's Birthday

Simon Crump

A Cup of Rage

Raduan Nassar

Cold Sea Stories

Pawel Huelle

Bahia Blues

Yasmina Traboulsi

Notes from a Turkish Whorehouse

Philip O Ceallaigh


Courtney Brkic


Andrew Waterhouse


Melissa Lee-Houghton

Circus Bulgaria

Deyan Enev

Guantanamo: A Novel

Dorothea Dieckmann

Say Something Back

Denise Riley

I Have Waited, and You Have Come

Martine McDonagh

The Mussel Feast

Birgit Vanderbeke

Beneath Black Stars

Martin Chalmers

Greetings to our Friends in Brazil

Paul Durcan

The Wasting Game

Philip Gross


Anthony Cropper

The Dark Meadow

Andrea Maria Schenkel

A Life Elsewhere

Segun Afolabi

The Testament of Mary

Colm Toibin

Something for the Ghosts

David Constantine


Julia Leigh

Sardines and Oranges: Short Stories from North Africa

Latifa Baqa and others

The Beautifully Worthless

Ali Liebegott

Innocent World

Amy Sakurai

Bloodchild and Other Stories

Octavia Butler

1914: A Novel

Jean Echenoz

The Elephant Vanishes

Haruki Murakami

Talking With the Dead

Anne Caldwell


Alan Garner

How the Dead Live

Will Self

Vault - An Anti-novel

David Rose

The Lone Woman

Bernardo Atxaga

On Cigarette Papers

Pam Zinnermann-Hope

The Pale King

David Foster Wallace


Michael Gardiner

The Tidings of the Trees

Wolfgang Hilbig

Men in the Off Hours

Anne Carson


Thierry Jonquet

The Garden of Secrets

Juan Goytisolo

God's Dog

Diego Marani