City of Thieves

The Courtyard Hound, Radchenko, and Ushakovo Symbol Analysis

The Courtyard Hound, Radchenko, and Ushakovo Symbol Icon

Throughout City of Thieves, Kolya is working on his novel, The Courtyard Hound, which follows the life of a man named Radchenko. Kolya invents the author Ushakovo so that he can discuss The Courtyard Hound without letting on that he's actually the one writing it. Kolya’s creation of Ushakovo points to one of Kolya's most prominent character traits: he doesn't fear death, but rather fears being embarrassed most of all. Both Ushakovo and Radchenko are based on Kolya. Ushakovo represents the author that Kolya wants to be or be like, as Lev on several occasions draws similarities between Ushakovo and other admired Russian authors (particularly Goncharov and Gogol). The protagonist Radchenko is also a kind of idealized version of what Kolya hopes for himself—grand, wealthy, and loved by many women. Kolya states that he learned his concept of "calculated neglect" from Radchenko, making it reasonable to believe that a lifestyle like Radchenko's is the kind of romanticized and dramatized life that Kolya admires. In this way, Radchenko and The Courtyard Hound offer Kolya an avenue through which to escape the horrors of the war and imagine a very different life for himself.

The Courtyard Hound, Radchenko, and Ushakovo Quotes in City of Thieves

The City of Thieves quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Courtyard Hound, Radchenko, and Ushakovo. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Growing Up Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of City of Thieves published in 2009.
Chapter 4 Quotes

The secret to winning a woman is calculated neglect.

Related Characters: Kolya Vlasov (speaker), Lev Beniov
Related Symbols: The Courtyard Hound, Radchenko, and Ushakovo
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 17 Quotes

Kolya seemed fearless, but everyone has fear in them somewhere; fear is part of our inheritance... Cannibals and Nazis didn't make Kolya nervous, but the threat of embarrassment did—the possibility that a stranger might laugh at the lines he'd written.

Related Characters: Lev Beniov (speaker), Kolya Vlasov
Related Symbols: The Courtyard Hound, Radchenko, and Ushakovo
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Courtyard Hound, Radchenko, and Ushakovo Symbol Timeline in City of Thieves

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Courtyard Hound, Radchenko, and Ushakovo appears in City of Thieves. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Literature and Storytelling Theme Icon
Russia and World War II Theme Icon
...was accused of desertion but was actually defending his thesis, which was an interpretation of The Courtyard Hound by Ushakovo. Lev doesn't recognize the author, offending Kolya. Lev hears scratching, which Kolya says... (full context)
Chapter 4
Literature and Storytelling Theme Icon
Sexuality, Masculinity, and Power Theme Icon
...a line from The Courtyard Hound. Kolya begins to describe the protagonist of the novel, Radchenko, and Lev says he sounds exactly like Oblomov (the protagonist from Ivan Goncharov's Oblomov), which... (full context)
Chapter 11
Literature and Storytelling Theme Icon
...and Kolya says her name is Maria Gregorevna Apraksin, and one of the characters in The Courtyard Hound is based on her. Kolya explains her role in the story, and Lev asks what... (full context)
Chapter 17
Growing Up Theme Icon
Literature and Storytelling Theme Icon
Sexuality, Masculinity, and Power Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
Kolya brings up a scene from The Courtyard Hound , making the joke again that Lev hasn't read it, which Lev finds comforting. Kolya... (full context)
Literature and Storytelling Theme Icon
Sexuality, Masculinity, and Power Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
Russia and World War II Theme Icon
Lev asks what Kolya was doing that night if he wasn't defending his thesis on The Courtyard Hound , but Kolya only says that it's complicated. Vika asks them if Lev and Kolya... (full context)
Literature and Storytelling Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
Lev thinks about the revelation that Kolya is writing The Courtyard Hound , and finds he's not angry. He thinks that Kolya fears embarrassment most of all.... (full context)
Chapter 25
Literature and Storytelling Theme Icon
...story of where the name The Courtyard Hound comes from. He explains that the hero, Radchenko, lives in an old multi-family building, and one night an old dog walks into the... (full context)
Literature and Storytelling Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
One morning, Radchenko wakes to the church bells, but sees that the hound is dead in the courtyard.... (full context)
Literature and Storytelling Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
...tries to offer some to Kolya. Kolya asks Lev if he likes the title for The Courtyard Hound , and they agree it's his best option. (full context)