The Case of Comrade Tulayev

( 2 )

Overview

A murder on a cold Moscow night. Random killing or conspiracy? From the wastes of Siberia to war-torn Spain, individuals are drawn together by their mutual links with the dead Tulayev. Now available in English for the first time in over 20 years, this classic novel - the best ever written on the show trials and purges in Stalin's Russia - is an unsurpassed exposition of individual behaviour under tyranny. Serge uses fictional form in order to penetrate the inner motivations of those caught up in the purges both ...
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The Case of Comrade Tulayev

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Overview

A murder on a cold Moscow night. Random killing or conspiracy? From the wastes of Siberia to war-torn Spain, individuals are drawn together by their mutual links with the dead Tulayev. Now available in English for the first time in over 20 years, this classic novel - the best ever written on the show trials and purges in Stalin's Russia - is an unsurpassed exposition of individual behaviour under tyranny. Serge uses fictional form in order to penetrate the inner motivations of those caught up in the purges both executioners and victims skillfully blending individual tragedy with historical disaster. Has there been a plot to kill a person, or to erase the legacy of an entire revolution? Serge himself insisted, 'this novel belongs entirely to the domain of fiction,' yet it remains an important source in understanding a turning point in twentieth-century history.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
One of the great 20th-Century Russian novels…there are extraordinary passages of natural description, a beauty that defies what takes place within it.
— Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian

The brilliance of his novel utterly ineluctable as it sweeps across 1930’s Europe from the gulags to the Kremlin, to Paris and to Barcelona.
— The Times (London)

The Case of Comrade Tulayev is gritty and rough, saturated in the squalor of Moscow life; but it also pulses with lyrical flights that take us up into the stars, which represent for Serge the regenerative, transformative moments the History promises but has yet to deliver. Tulayev is infused with mysticism; it is a work of cosmic longing, as if Serge is turning to the eternity of the universe itself to avoid the utter despair right in front of his face.
— Matthew Price, Bookforum

It is a protest novel no less significant and no more dated than Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. These novels recreate the feel of daily existence years ago, animate the history texts, and give readers an irreplaceable personal perspective. Books like these ensure the past is not forgotten….The quality of life depicted in The Case of Comrade Tulayev showed why the Stalinist monolith could not endure.
— Joe Auciello, Socialist Action

Given the standard of fortitude, and given the contempt Serge always felt for Stalin’s collaborators, a remarkable feature of The Case of Comrade Tulayev is its chiaroscuro….That Serge intended no lenience here we may be sure, but we may likewise be sure that he would never have swallowed the later euphemisms and half-truths of Khrushchev, putting blame for all the enormities of an epoch on the evil of a single individual.
— Christopher Hitchens, The Atlantic Monthly

Serge can recognize the range of experience and responses that make up the texture of life in even the most nightmarishly repressive system.
— Scott McLemee

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A conspiracy unfolds against the backdrop of the show trials and purges of Stalin's Russia in this novel, available in English for the first time in 20 years. (Dec.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590170649
  • Publisher: New York Review Books
  • Publication date: 11/5/2003
  • Series: New York Review Books Classics Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 362
  • Sales rank: 650,383
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Comets are born at night 1
2 The sword is blind 32
3 Men at bay 64
4 To build is to perish 93
5 Journey into defeat 128
6 Every man has his own way of drowning 169
7 The brink of nothing 213
8 The road to gold 249
9 Let purity be treason 293
10 And still the floes came down ... 327
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A brilliantly disturbing novel about the workings of Stalinist terror

    If you heard the barest outline of the plot, you might think of The Case of Comrade Tulayev as a comedy. An obscure Russian angry at the Stalinist terror murders a high official almost by accident and the response of the regime is so inept, so foolish, that you can't help but marvel at its incompetence. But rapidly it turns out that the author has used this incident to show in one brilliant and distressing chapter after another how the state exploits its own failure to solve the crime to widen the reach of its terrorist apparatus. Each chapter demonstrates that if Stalin's government couldn't solve major crimes it was remarkably inventive at creating them. The result in this completely readable book is an unforgettable portrait of the mechanics of totalitarian terror.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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