BookBrowse Reviews The Stalin Epigram by Robert Littell

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The Stalin Epigram

A Novel

by Robert Littell

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

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Book Reviewed by:
Derek Brown

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A fictional rendering of the life of poet Osip Mandelstam, as he struggles to survive persecution in Stalinist Russia in the 1930s

Our lives no longer feel ground under them.
At ten paces you can’t hear our words.

With short measured breaths and hands darting about in poetic deliverance, a lone poet casts words to the air that each condense into a moment whose consequences will weigh on him for the rest of his life. His identity, now virtually unknown, claws at a half-empty audience, not for money, but for the next batch of cigarettes that might last him through the night. His calling is more than an augur’s foretelling; it is a craft that describes the events surrounding him in vivid detail, replete with morals and a naturalism that cuts to the core of things in an age that needed it most. But it is this craft that will cast him into dungeons far darker than the seedy cabaret where he delivers his sermons for meager alms; it will ruin the very thing that defines him. His name is Osip Mandelstam ...

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