'How do you track down ghosts? I wanted my fictional defectors to be plausible, to live very much the way real life defectors had.'
The name Joseph Kanon has become a byword for the best in contemporary thriller writing with his novels, including The Good German and Leaving Berlin, joining the canon of classic espionage fiction. Now he is back with Defectors, a twisting tale of loyalty and deception played out amidst the US-Soviet tension of the early 1960’s. Here, exclusively for Waterstones, Joseph Kanon discusses location scouting in the past and how he got under the skin of Cold War Moscow.
Posted on 17th Feb, 2017 by Sally Campbell
Continuing our sequence of posts inspired by the events that swept Russia a century ago, we’re pleased to present, in full, Orlando Figes’ new introduction to what has to be his most highly-regarded work - A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, re-released this year in an appropriately stunning new edition. ‘Elaborately researched, rigorously structured, coherently argued, it presents an overwhelmingly comprehensive view of one of the most important and complicated of all modern events.’ – The Guardian
'It's all too rare to find a fun, glamorous, semi-literary tale to get lost in.’ So said The Guardian of Amor Towles’ first novel, Rules of Civility, an assured and evocative account of Manhattanite life in the Thirties. Going on to win the French 2012 Prix Fitzgerald, Towles now returns with his effortlessly urbane A Gentleman in Moscow, the tale of a somewhat singular man - Count Alexander Rostov – who finds himself under house arrest after sentence from a 1922 Bolshevik tribunal. What follows is decades of imprisonment through the most tumultuous decades of Russia’s history and the slow, fascinating rebirth of the Count’s sense of purpose. We caught up with the author to discuss the novel’s genesis and where its fiction met fact.
Posted on 3rd Feb, 2017 by Sally Campbell
Our Non-Fiction Book of The Month for February, The Romanovs 1613–1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore, is an exceptional example of this year’s reflections on the 100 years that have passed since the climactic Russian revolutions of 1917. It is one of those once-in-a-decade texts that brings the past acutely into the present; the author’s inexhaustible research and deftness for story-telling sealing a vast but still intimate chronology of Russia’s twenty sovereigns.
Of course, the history of Russia is as vast as the nation itself, a daunting prospect for anyone looking to properly unpick its past. Exclusively for Waterstones, Simon Sebag Montefiore presents his own reading roadmap to those eager to explore the Russian adventure.
Our Children's Book of the Month for September is The Wolf Wilder, Katherine Rundell's follow-up to her much-loved The Rooftoppers. Set in a snow-white St Petersberg, The Wolf Wilder is a fairy-tale-infused adventure with very sharp teeth. Here, the author gives us a glimpse into the personal inspiration behind the tale
Posted on 27th Jan, 2016 by James Gilbert
Bookseller James Gilbert shares his opinion of Julian Barnes' new novel The Noise of Time. The novel, described by The Guardian as a masterpiece, captures the life of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich.
Posted on 6th Jun, 2015 by Elena Gorokhova
Against strict Soviet rules, Elena Gorokhova and her typewriter 'Erika', reproduced banned books by hand.
Posted on 18th May, 2015 by Jonathan O'Brien
Before the Pushkin Prize announcement tonight, let's play a game.
Posted on 30th Apr, 2014 by Dan Lewis
Red Fortress, a “biography” of the Kremlin by Catherine Merridale, has won the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize 2014.
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