Lev Golinkin's memoir is the vivid, darkly comic, and poignant story of a young boy in the confusing and often chilling final decade of the Soviet Union. It's also the story of Lev Golinkin, the American man who finally confronts his buried past by returning to Austria and Eastern Europe to track down the strangers who made his escape possible…. and thank them.
"Touching, moving Memoir"
An idyllic childhood takes a sinister turn. Rumors of a serial killer haunt the neighborhood, families pack up and leave town without a word of warning, and the country begins to unravel. Policemen stand by as protesters overtake the streets, knowing that the once awe-inspiring symbols of power they wear on their helmets have become devoid of meaning.
For three years in the 1960s, Vladimir Tsesis - inestimable Soviet doctor and irrepressible jester - was stationed in a village where racing tractor drivers tossed vodka bottles to each other for sport; where farmers and townspeople secretly mocked and tried to endure the Communist way of life; where milk for children, running water, and adequate electricity were rare; where the world's smallest motley parade became the country's longest; and where one compulsively amorous Communist Party leader met a memorable, chilling fate.
Thelonius Monk (not his real name) and Linda Evangelista (not her real name) meet in Saint Petersburg after the Soviet Union's collapse, in 1991. They journey to Yalta, where Thelonius promises to make Linda famous in the fashion magazines. But in fact, he's drafting a novel about her. Over the course of their travels, the two indulge in all sorts of sensual amusements - extravagant dinners, luxury automobiles, seaside hotels - while they engage in grand discussions of love, art, celebrity, and other existential polarities.
This masterful novel represents an epic literary attempt to examine a very troubled Russia. In one of the first 21st-century Russian novels to probe the legacy of the Soviet prison-camp system, a young man travels to the vast wastelands of the Far North to uncover the truth about a shadowy neighbor who saved his life and whom he knows only as Grandfather II.
"Breathtaking Prose but Little Action"