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The Case of Comrade Tulayev


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A classic and atmospheric novel, set during the Stalin era, filled with suspense, mystery and adventure.

About the Author

Victor Serge (1890-1947) was born in Belgium of a Russian family. Affiliated from his early youth with the anarchist movement, he made his way to Russia, where he was an active participant in the Revolution from 1919 on. Because of his adamant opposition to Stalin, Serge was driven into exile in Mexico and France, during which he wrote his legendary Memoirs of a Revolutionist and a series of novels closely based on his own life. Susan Sontag has written novels, stories, essays and plays; written and directed films; and worked as a theatre director in the United States and Europe. In 2001 she was awarded the Jerusalem Prize. Among her recent books are the novel In America, which won the 2000 National Book Award for Fiction, and Regarding the Pain of Others.


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.)

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

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