In this wildly imaginative satire of Soviet life, an insecure but much-published adventure novelist, Yefim Rakhlin, learns that the Writers' Union is giving out fur hats to its members according to their importancereindeer fawn for a foremost writer, muskrat for a leading writer, marmot for an outstanding writer, and so on down the line. Desperate to know where he stands in the literary hierarchy, Yefim rushes to the Union director's office where he learns the grim truth: fluffy tomcat. Fluffy tomcat? But Yefim's been in the Union eighteen years, he writes books about decent and fearless people, he creates no problems with Soviet censors, editors, or reviewers, he's a veteran, and he has medals. Where's the justice of it all? In his search for recourse, Yefim goes from embarrassment to scandal and ends up lionized by the foreign press a great dissident hero.
As the New Leader said, The Fur Hat further confirms Voinovich's reputation as a "writer of considerable gifts. His flair for ironic dialogue is as clear as his knack for swift, accurate characterization. He possesses as well the social satirist's talent for choosing the absurd situation and then cleverly exploiting it, for making us feel that we are visitors in a land of strange, wildly comic customs."