American readers can now enjoy the sumptuous masterpiece of an important contemporary Russian novelist, whose book chronicles the search of modern Soviet intellectual Lyova Odoevtsev for a genuine personal identity within a society that devalues and uproots the individual. Using a complex, densely layered style, Bitov creates keen psychological portraits of such fascinating eccentrics as Lyova's Uncle Mitya and his grandfather, Modest, a survivor of the camps. Bearing comparison with the works of such modern masters as Bely, Joyce, and especially Nabokovwhose great novel, The Gift , is an obvious antecedentthis dazzling book expands our view of the possibilities of the contemporary novel.Alphonse Vinh, Yale Univ. Lib.
"Probably the most interesting work to come out of Soviet literature since the Twenties."--London Review of Books