Katayev, Valentin Petrovich (vəlyĭntyēnˈ pētrôˈvĭch kətĪˈəf) [key], 1897–1986, Russian novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. Katayev's novels portray almost the entire range of Soviet life, from the period of the New Economic Policy ( The Embezzlers, 1926, tr. 1929) through the first Five-Year Plan ( Time, Forward!, 1932, tr. 1933) to World War II ( The Wife, 1944, tr. 1946). In Peace Is Where the Tempests Blow (1936, tr. 1937) he described a pleasant childhood in Odessa against the background of the Revolution of 1905. Katayev's comedies became very popular, especially Squaring the Circle (1928, tr. 1934), a farce about Soviet marriage and housing conditions. His later works include The Holy Well (1966, tr. 1967) and a volume of reminiscences, Grass of Oblivion (1967, tr. 1969). His younger brother, Yevgeny, collaborating with Ilya Ilf under the name Yevgeny Petrovich Petrov.
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