Growing up in Russia, I loved the work of Russian humor writers. They were all different but all were clever, with a keen sense of observation, sharp wit, and an ability to notice the bizarre in everyday life. And in the Soviet Union of the late 80’ and early 90’s, there was plenty of the bizarre. Trust me on that. And then, I noticed a pattern.
Most of these humor writers had engineering degrees.
Or because the salaries of engineers were laughable?
The reasons are many, but the fact remains: Russian engineers make great humor writers, for better or for worse. If you don’t believe me, check out the new book “Let’s Conquer Paris and Other Funny Stories” by Oleg Medvedkov. He is twice as funny as an average Russian engineer, probably because he also has a business degree. And there’s plenty of funny business in Russia.
“Let’s Conquer Paris” by Oleg Medvedkov is a delightful collection of funny stories that sparkle with wit, intelligence, and a keen ability to see the bizarre in everyday life that few writers have. Oleg Medvedkov is one of those rare writers.
It was the Roman poet Ovid who created minotaur, a creature that’s “part man and part bull,” and placed him at the center of the Cretan Labyrinth. But it took Oleg Medvedkov’s wild sense humor to give this mythical creature a desire to exercise and a need for more matches. Of course, that makes sense. It must be lonely and dark in that labyrinth! And if that’s not enough, the famed minotaur becomes a tour guide for visitors to Greece. You’ll have to read the story to find out how that job opportunity worked out for him.
Oleg knows how to play with language and does it exceptionally well. The readers may not think twice about a common expression “to sit on laurels” until Oleg questions the whole idea of sitting “on vegetation.” Suddenly, that common expression is not so solemn and dignified anymore. In Oleg’s book, the concept of “disconnecting the Internet connection” involves garden shears, popular limericks become goulash recipes, and paramour and paramount get mixed up in a hilarious way.
I’ve learned quite a few things about Greek history from this book, too, such as that the fall of Troy was partially caused by a malfunctioning can of beans combined with the act of petting “a giant horsey,” that one of the chief concerns of Zeus were high drowning rates in Greece, that Romans tweeted in Latin, and that Goddess Athena was a marketing genius. No wonder olive oil from Greece is still popular today. It all make sense now, at least in the context of the bizarre, fascinating, and fun world that Oleg has created for his readers.
But it’s not all Greek in this book. We have giant squirrels as part of a complicated plan to revise history, the Large Hadron Collider that gets filled with cabernet during a wild party hosted by the French President, body parts that undergo complicated transactions to make use of the quantum physics principles, and a Jeopardy Game that involves tiny ninjas bearing sage advice.
Every page of this entertaining and intelligent book is filled with fun, wit, and wild experiences that only Oleg can create. Highly recommended.