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Sasha, Stalin and the Gorbachovshchina

T.J. Binyon, 15 September 1988

Children of the Arbat 
by Anatoli Rybakov, translated by Harold Shukman.
Hutchinson, 688 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 0 09 173742 7
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Pushkin House 
by Andrei Bitov, translated by Susan Brownsberger.
Weidenfeld, 371 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 0 297 79316 0
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The Queue 
by Vladimir Sorokin, translated by Sally Laird.
Readers International, 198 pp., £9.95, May 1988, 9780930523442
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Moscow 2042 
by Vladimir Voinovich, translated by Richard Lourie.
Cape, 424 pp., £11.95, April 1988, 0 224 02532 5
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The Mushroom-Picker 
by Zinovy Zinik, translated by Michael Glenny.
Heinemann, 282 pp., £11.95, January 1988, 0 434 89735 3
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Chekago 
by Natalya Lowndes.
Hodder, 384 pp., £12.95, January 1988, 0 340 41060 4
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... and other characters, take up a good deal of space in the novel, they are ultimately unimportant: Rybakov uses them only to fill out his portrayal – fascinating as social history – of Muscovite life in the Thirties. The novel is dominated by two characters: Sasha Pankratov, the hero, an obvious self-portrait of the author, and Stalin. Thrown out of the ...

Soviet Revisions

Oleg Gordievsky, 7 February 1991

Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy 
by Dmitri Volkogonov, edited and translated by Harold Shukman.
Weidenfeld, 642 pp., £29.95, February 1991, 0 297 81080 4
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Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations 
by Walter Laqueur.
Unwin Hyman, 383 pp., £16.95, February 1991, 0 04 440769 6
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The Prosecutor and the Prey: Vyshinsky and the 1930s Moscow Show Trials 
by Arkady Vaksberg, translated by Jan Butler.
Weidenfeld, 374 pp., £25, October 1990, 0 297 81064 2
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... A more serious defect is that Volkogonov, evidently begrudging the laurels won by Solzhenitsyn and Anatoli Rybakov, has blended fiction with historical research, ‘Stalin,’ Volkogonov writes, ‘cast his mind back into the distant past, when on Lenin’s orders, he went to the Eastern Front with Dzerzhinsky.’ Or: ‘he stood up, deep in ...

At the Gay Hussar

John Sutherland, 20 August 1981

One and Last Love 
by John Braine.
Eyre Methuen, 175 pp., £6.50, June 1981, 0 413 47990 0
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Sweetsir 
by Helen Yglesias.
Hodder, 332 pp., £6.95, August 1981, 9780340270424
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On the Yankee Station 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 184 pp., £7.95, July 1981, 0 241 10426 2
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Byzantium endures 
by Michael Moorcock.
Secker, 404 pp., £6.95, June 1981, 0 436 28458 8
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Heavy Sand 
by Anatoli Rybakov, translated by Harold Shuckman.
Allen Lane, 380 pp., £7.95, June 1981, 0 7139 1343 6
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... At some point it must have crossed Braine’s mind to call his latest novel ‘Love at the Top’. The hero is Tim Harnforth, a 56-year-old best-selling novelist and man of letters. Originally from the West Riding, he is now one of the gens du monde, ‘a high-flyer, a metropolitan man’, literary-lioning it in London. Young admirers come up to him in pubs and say: ‘Mr Harnforth? Mr Tim Harnforth?’ One and Last Love is Mr Tim Harnforth’s novel as well as Mr John Braine’s ...

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