Gadfly in Russia

Overview

In an attempt to take a break from his writing career, in 1967 Alan Sillitoe set off in a boxy blue Peugeot from Germany towards the then USSR. In Leningrad, despite his desire to travel alone, he was provided with an official escort in the form of George Andjaparidze, who was to become a fellow journeyman and friend. On their long drive into the heart of the country, George and Alan encountered numerous police checks, spent late nights filled with vodka, and inadvertently took part in a motor rally. This is a ...

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Overview

In an attempt to take a break from his writing career, in 1967 Alan Sillitoe set off in a boxy blue Peugeot from Germany towards the then USSR. In Leningrad, despite his desire to travel alone, he was provided with an official escort in the form of George Andjaparidze, who was to become a fellow journeyman and friend. On their long drive into the heart of the country, George and Alan encountered numerous police checks, spent late nights filled with vodka, and inadvertently took part in a motor rally. This is a story of traveling, history, people, and places; of the Nazis and perestroika; Pushkin and Tolstoy; the fight for freedom and the strong-armed nature of the Soviet government. In the deceptively simple manner for which he is so well known, Alan Sillitoe offers a fascinating account of his relationship with Russia, its people, and their changing fortunes over the past 40 years.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The Cold War-era Russian travels of the noted British novelist. "Gadabout" is a more appropriate term than "gadfly," since Sillitoe (New and Collected Stories, 2005, etc.)-the Angry Young Man of Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1960) fame-seldom sinks his Socratic stinger into the flesh of Soviet society. The impulse that took him to Russia in 1967 was more of the let's-go-see-what-there-is-to-see sort, even if he was better equipped than most daytrippers-not only with his own car but also with hand-drawn maps showing, strategically, the location of gas stations and other necessities. Arriving from Finland, Sillitoe encountered signs of the times: "A young man played a Beatles tape: ‘We all live in a yellow submarine...' and two Swedish mariners were trying to kiss a couple of Russian girls." He also met his Passepartout, an official escort named George Andjapasidze, who eventually became the author's good friend. Sillitoe's path took him across western Russia and through the Iron Curtain to Yugoslavia, a winding itinerary "from the Baltic to the Adriatic." Though not looking for trouble, he certainly found it, for the young literature students he encountered were, like their Western counterparts, in a rebellious spirit. A frank conversation, a speech before a writer's group, a coincidental defection of a Soviet writer, and Sillitoe now finds himself less welcome in the country-and increasingly censored. A spry, readable literary travelogue that stretches from the '60s to the present, chronicling eternal verities and changing moods alike.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781906217587
  • Publisher: JR Books
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Sillitoe was a member of the Angry Young Men movement. He is the author of more than 40 works of prose, poetry, and drama and is best known for his novels The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.

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