Petrograd, mid-20’s. The main character is Andrei Nikolayevich Svistonov, a writer. “Svistonov did not work out systematically, not suddenly appeared before him the image of the world, not suddenly everything became clear, and not then he wrote.” On the contrary, all his things arose from ugly notes on the margins of books, from stolen comparisons, from skilfully rewritten pages, from overheard conversations, from turned gossips. ” In fact, he had nothing to write about. He simply takes a person and “translates” him into a novel. For Svistonov people do not divide into good and evil. They are divided into necessary for his novel and unnecessary. In search of characters for the new book, Svistonov gets acquainted with the old couple, who feed their old dog Traviotochka, becomes their man in the house of Deryabkin and his wife Lipochka, he goes to visit the ” the Soviet Cagliostro, “Psihachev, who, as he himself admits, entered the university”
to bark at him, “and studied philosophy without any faith, and received a doctoral diploma in order to laugh at him, but there are things quite serious for Psikhachev too. the library has a lot of books on occultism, masonry, magic, and not especially believing in all this, Psikhachev founded the “Order”, a secret society, he dedicates Svistonov to the knights of the order, whose antiquity he firmly believes in. Therefore, Svistonov’s mockery over the initiation procedure and the order itself Boko hurt Psihacheva Nevertheless friendship between the two geniuses continues Svistonov -. a frequent visitor in the home Psihacheva, and once, when fourteen Masha Psihacheva daughter asks Svistonova read the novel, he, after some hesitation, agreed. ” From the first lines, Mashenka thought she was entering an unfamiliar world, an empty, ugly and sinister, empty space and chatting figures, and among these chatting figures she suddenly recognized her dad. He was wearing an old faded hat, he had a huge nose of a polyhyne. He held a magic mirror in one hand… Ivan Ivanovich Kuku became another
“victim” of Svistonov Ivan Ivanovich – “a fat forty-year-old man, perfectly preserved.” A clever face, sleek tanks, thoughtful eyes. he strives to support this impression, he strives to support this impression, he does everything with greatness, shaves – majestically, smokes – is captivating. It attracts attention of even the students of the labor school on the street, but the thing is that Ivan Ivanovich does not have anything of his own ” no mind, no heart, no expression. “He approves only what others approve, reads only books respected by all, alternately fond of religious issues, then Freudianism – along with the rest. He wants to be like some great man. the feeling for Nadenka is sincere, although it is clothed in vulgar phrases: Ivan Ivanovich turns out to be a find for Svistonov and immediately almost completely transports him to his novel. Svistonov, without much thought, for his character slightly changes the name of Kuku, turning him into a Cukurek, and his favorite one When he heard about the remarkable new novel by Svistonov, Ivan Ivanovich, on the eve of the wedding with Nadenka, came to the writer with a request to read what had been written. Svistonov rejects, but Ivan Ivanovich manages to insist, he is struck by what he heard, that everyone can clearly see his insignificance, he is afraid to meet with friends. He does not go to Nadenka to go out together, as usual, but to lock himself in his room, not knowing what to do, the other person lived his life for him, lived miserably and despicably, and he himself, Cook, has nothing to do in this world. Ivan Ivanovich does not need either Nadenka or marriage, he feels that it is impossible to go through the romanized ways. The next morning Ivan Ivanovich goes to Svistonov and begs to tear it apart, although he firmly knows that, even if the man breaks the manuscript, his self-respect is irretrievably lost and life has lost all attraction. But Svistonov is not going to tear up the manuscript, comforting Ivan Ivanovich by taking only “some details” for his hero. Ivan Ivanovich changes: shaves tanks, changes a suit, does not travel more in the suburbs, moves to another part of the city. He feels that everything that was in him was stolen from him, and only dirt, anger, suspicion and distrust to himself remained. Nadenka tries in vain to meet him. Finally Ivan Ivanovich Kuku moves to another city.
And Svistonov enthusiastically ends his novel. “It worked well, breathed freely.” Svistonov was written today as never before, the entire city stood before him, and his heroes and heroines moved, sang, talked, marryed and marryed in an imaginary city. rather, in the theater, in a darkened bed, sitting in the role of a young, elegant, romantic audience. At that moment he was extremely fond of his heroes. ” Around Svistonov grow piles of papers. He makes up one character from several heroes, transfers the beginning to the end, and the end turns into the beginning. Many words the writer cuts out, others inserts… Having finished the novel, tired of work, he goes along the street “with an empty brain, with a weathered soul.” The city seems to him a toy, houses and trees – apart, people and trams – clockwork. He feels lonely and bored.
The places described by Svistonov turn into deserts for him, people with whom he was familiar lose any interest for him. The more he thinks about the novel that has come out of print, the greater emptiness is formed around him. Finally, he feels that he is finally locked in his novel.
Wherever Svistonov appears, everywhere he sees his heroes. They have other names, other bodies, other manners, but he immediately recognizes them.
Thus, Svistonov is completely transformed into his work.