Kataev was a popular novelist during the 1920s, creating comical, parodic works. He wrote an outstanding comic novel, The Embezzlers (1927), aiming his wit at corrupt Soviet officials and an excellent satiric play about the housing shortage, Squaring the Circle (1928). In 1932, he published Time Forward!, a classic novel of socialist realism, about the construction of a metallurgical plant. Overall, Kataev survived the Stalin years with a minimum of compromise, yet with a fully active professional life. During the 1960s and 1970s, he experimented with semiautobiographical works, playing with time and memory, and paying homage to the many vanished figures of Russian culture.