Excerpt from The Stalin Epigram by Robert Littell, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Stalin Epigram

A Novel

By Robert Littell

The Stalin Epigram
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: May 2009,
    384 pages.
    Paperback: Jun 2010,
    384 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Derek Brown

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Print Excerpt


"Don't worry your pretty head over it," I remarked as I followed them through the doorway. What I left unsaid was this: It was the poems that failed to beat about the bush, not the orgasms with this bewitching sea nymph, which risked to cut short Mandelstam's ifeline. Not to mention mine. When we'd burst through the door of the flat earlier, I'd instantly detected what my husband, too enthralled by Zinaida's petal-of-rose perfume, had missed: the stale aroma of a strong tobacco that only men smoked. And I noticed, as I was meant to, that the glass ashtray on the windowsill was filled with cigarette ends. I didn't have the heart to spoil Mandelstam's Lucullan banquet by telling him we'd had visitors. At least for the space of a few hours, he would put behind him the agony of no longer being published, the indignity of reading his poems to eleven people, the humiliation of Once, long ago, there was such a poet.

Dear God in heaven, while he still has a muse and an erection, arrange things so the sun will simply fail to rise tomorrow morning. Amen.

Copyright © 2009 by Robert Littell

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