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Robert Littell
The Stalin Epigram
 
 
Author
Robert Littell.
Publisher Simon & Schuster  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
ISBN 9781416598640
Pages/Publication Date 366/2009
Daedalus Item Code 03294
List Price: $26.00
Sale Price: $3.98
You Save: $22.02
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Description
Based on a tragic historical episode, this book from the author of The Company is a fictional rendering of the life of Osip Mandelstam, perhaps the greatest Russian poet of the 20th century and one of the few artists in Soviet Russia who refused to pay creative homage to Joseph Stalin. The poet's defiance of the Kremlin dictator—particularly his outspoken criticism of policies that drove millions of Russian peasants to starvation—reached its climax in 1934 when Mandelstam risked his life to recite to a handful of friends and fellow artists his searing 16-line indictment of Stalin.

"Robert Littell has written what may be his finest novel ... a brilliant work, always readable, sometimes funny and often heartbreaking.... The Stalin Epigram should not be missed."—Washington Post

"Russian poet Osip Mandelstam once said Russia is 'a country where poetry is respected—people are killed for reading it, for writing it.' Sadly, he was correct. He died in a Siberian gulag in 1938, one of millions of victims of Stalin's terror. Littell, best known for espionage novels, turns to historical fiction by telling Mandelstam's story through the eyes of the poet's wife, Nadezhda, and various others, including writers Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova. Littell begins the story in 1934; Mandelstam is famous but impoverished because publishers are now afraid to release his work. His only powerful patron, Bukharin, has been banished from Stalin's inner circle. He assumes his arrest is imminent, and he writes 'The Stalin Epigram,' a 16-line poetic attack on the dictator's brutalities. There is an awful beauty to Mandelstam's story as Littell tells it. The characters are trapped in a country gone mad, yet they strive to maintain their humanity. Historically accurate and filled with period detail, this is both a tragic and life-affirming novel."—Booklist

 
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