Pushkin House

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Overview

"Probably the most interesting work to come out of Soviet literature since the Twenties."—London Review of BooksNo other contemporary novel provides such clear insight into the Russian mind and way of life as Andrei Bitov's Pushkin House. First published in the United States in 1987 and highly praised for its inventiveness, Pushkin House survives as a literary masterpiece, even after the fall of Communism.Though the novel's focus is a love affair between Lyova and Faina, the novel's true subject is an investigation of the corruption of Soviet

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Overview

"Probably the most interesting work to come out of Soviet literature since the Twenties."—London Review of BooksNo other contemporary novel provides such clear insight into the Russian mind and way of life as Andrei Bitov's Pushkin House. First published in the United States in 1987 and highly praised for its inventiveness, Pushkin House survives as a literary masterpiece, even after the fall of Communism.Though the novel's focus is a love affair between Lyova and Faina, the novel's true subject is an investigation of the corruption of Soviet intellectual life and history. Working within many of the confines imposed upon him during the Soviet regime, Bitov ingeniously draws upon Russian literary models, especially that of Nabokov, in order to parody and satirize the stifling society about him, as well as Russian literary tradition.

Foucault interprets his writings on such themes as sexuality, politics and punishment, stressing the contribution of each to the portrait of society that he is compiling.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Probably the most interesting work to come out of Soviet literature since the Twenties."--London Review of Books

Dalkey Archive Press

New York Times Book Review
A novel full of fiery intelligence. . . . The author this work most vividly recalls . . . is Dostoyevsky
London Review of Books
Probably the most interesting work to come out of Soviet literature since the Twenties.
New Yorker
Pushkin House is a brilliant, restless, impudent novel . . . it makes the city nowmcalled Leningrad a vivid and symbolically freighted presence and swathes a few hectic domestic events in a giddy whirl of metaphorically packed language. . . . Dip in anywhere; small surprises keep crystallizing."

John Updike— New Yorker

Nation
Bitov's descriptions of the mind's approach to ordinary notions of cause andeffect is often startling, producing images that remind us of Andrei Bely, Nabokov and Yuri Olesha. . . . Pushkin House frequently calls to mind Sterne's 'Tristram Shandy.' . . . Bitov gropes conscientiously among the facts of life and literature, using the best evidence he can find.
Washington Post Book World
Extraordinary? it brings to American attention a work of prose that stands with the best of modernist fiction?Bitov's novel is as rich in description and experience as Pasternak's, and it is a superior artistic achievement.
Library Journal
American readers can now enjoy the sumptuous masterpiece of an important contemporary Russian novelist, whose book chronicles the search of modern Soviet intellectual Lyova Odoevtsev for a genuine personal identity within a society that devalues and uproots the individual. Using a complex, densely layered style, Bitov creates keen psychological portraits of such fascinating eccentrics as Lyova's Uncle Mitya and his grandfather, Modest, a survivor of the camps. Bearing comparison with the works of such modern masters as Bely, Joyce, and especially Nabokov, whose great novel, The Gift, is an obvious antecedent, this dazzling book expands our view of the possibilities of the contemporary novel. -- Alphonse Vinh, Yale University Library
Library Journal
American readers can now enjoy the sumptuous masterpiece of an important contemporary Russian novelist, whose book chronicles the search of modern Soviet intellectual Lyova Odoevtsev for a genuine personal identity within a society that devalues and uproots the individual. Using a complex, densely layered style, Bitov creates keen psychological portraits of such fascinating eccentrics as Lyova's Uncle Mitya and his grandfather, Modest, a survivor of the camps. Bearing comparison with the works of such modern masters as Bely, Joyce, and especially Nabokov, whose great novel, The Gift, is an obvious antecedent, this dazzling book expands our view of the possibilities of the contemporary novel. -- Alphonse Vinh, Yale University Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564782007
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Edition description: 1ST DALKEY
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,172,714
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrei Bitov was born in St. Petersburg in 1937. He studied at the
Mining Institute there, but was expelled when he began neglecting his studies to write poetry. He worked as a stevedore, served in the army,
returned to the institute, and started to write prose. In 1963 he became a full-time writer of stories. A collection of these stories, Life in Windy Weather, was published in translation in 1986. Other books that have been translated into English include Pushkin House, The Monkey Link, and Captive of the Caucasus.

Susan Brownsberger, praised as "learned and resourceful" by the New York Times, specializes in translating Russian literature to English. She has translated works such as M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin's Story of a Town, Vladimir Voinovich's The Fur Hat, Yuz Aleshkovsky's The Hand, Or the Confession of the Executioner, and Andrei Bitov's Pushkin House.

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