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From The CriticsSet in 1962, the latest work from this gifted, little-known author concerns Kit Malone, a sensitive, troubled undergraduate at a Midwestern college who comes under the spell of visiting professor Innokenti Issayevich Falin, a famous and mysterious Russian poet with a troubled and painful past. The two meet in Falin's class, and Kit later assists him in translating his poems. In a novel that affirms and celebrates language, Crowley nonetheless demonstrates the impossibility of translation—rhyme and meter, not to mention meaning, are so often lost. Yet in this dualistic world of Russia and America, professor and student, attempts at bridging language and culture must be made. Some readers will feel that Crowley's characters take themselves and their poetry too seriously and could benefit from a healthy dose of humor. Nevertheless, this simple and sincere novel, which masterfully renders a moment in history, possesses a certain beauty.