Moscow’s Racetrack

4 April 2015
An analysis of Anatoly Gladilin’s novel `Moscow’s Racetrack.

The paper analyzes and reviews Russian author Anatoly Gladilin’s book, Moscow Racetrack. It shows how Gladilin paints poignant portraits of the characters that populate the Moscow track, lending insight into gambling strategy and psychology – but interspersed with these vignettes is historical information and political commentary. The paper discusses the characters and themes of the book.
Gambling, of course, is an overall no-win situation. It is more of a pastime and a diversion, an escape. The Teacher is aware of this: the Central Moscow Racetrack is known as Fool’s Field. Yet rarely does the Teacher express disgust and disillusionment with the track. Before his lucky break, the Teacher asks himself, Lord, what am I doing here? (p. 27) He expresses contempt more for the seedy crooks that populate the Moscow Racetrack (the Gas Man and the Vegetable Man) than for the art and science of betting. The Teacher never gets into serious debt and even when he loses seems to enjoy the game. Betting appeals to him not so much for the adrenaline rush (although that must come into play) as for the diversion; studying horses is the Teacher’s hobby and pastime. Without it he would probably become embittered; it is not enough to vent his frustrations through his political essays.`
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