People are on the move in all ten stories in this collectionâ€”coming home as in The Return, leaving home as in Rubbish Wind, traveling far away from their country as in The Locks of Epiphanâ€”trying to improve their lives and those of others, searching and fleeing. Their journeys are accompanied by two motives, which characterize the writing of Andrey Platonov: optimism and faith in the goodness of humanity, and abject despair at the cruelty and apparent senselessness of our existence. The protagonists are torn between these poles and sometimes a synthesis shines through the blackness of despairâ€”the hope against hope that a better life is still possible. Combining realism with poetic vision and the deceptively simple language of folktales, Platonov lights up his stories by using language in a way that renders it unfamiliar, making the ordinary seem unusual and the extraordinary logical. This new translation is the first to present Platonov's gift as a short-story writer to an English-language readership, showing why it is that Joseph Brodsky regarded Platonov as the equal of Joyce, Kafka, and Proust.