Iurii Olesha's Short Novel Envy (Zavist', 1927) has been greatly admired and even has some claim to be considered the “great Soviet novel.“Yet comparatively little has been written about Envy since the first flood of reviews and articles, many uncritical, appeared in the Soviet press between 1927 and 1933.
Envy is a complex novel, sometimes described as expressionistic, written in a variety of styles and with many planes of meaning. Elements of realist, romanticist, and symbolist styles are present. Dreams, fantasies, and lies are introduced, often as reality. It is a work in which the author's ideological intentions are far from clear or unambiguous, a work deeply hedged with irony. And it is a work that can yield much to discerning analysis.