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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
|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|
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 22, 2010
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