Ilya Ehrenburg David Rieff - Essay

David Rieff

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The recent republication of an early novel, The Life of the Automobile, reminds us that Ehrenburg, at his best, was a surprisingly good writer. (p. 302)

What is remarkable is that Ehrenburg—in 1929—wanted to show the similarity between Communist Russia and the capitalist West. He realized that cars, oil, rubber were the real forces to be reckoned with in a machine-dominated world, whatever the ideology of a particular country.

At first glance, The Life of the Automobile might seem to resemble Futurist fiction, but … Ehrenburg's novel mocks the machine age and pictures the car as a scourge. But although Ehrenburg sets out to denounce technological progress, he...

(The entire section is 428 words.)