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Dust and Ashes (Arbat Trilogy, Vol 3) Hardcover – March, 1996

4.0 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Arbat Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This novel can stand alone, though the trilogy is best read in sequence. The whole makes a Tolstoy-scale epic of Soviet life, from the idealism of youth, through the confronting of reality, to a beaten disillusion. This last volume covers the bloody decade from Stalin's Terror to the turning point of World War II in 1943. Against this depressing backdrop, however, Rybakov creates romantic tension and suspense, as the reader roots for the coming together again of Sasha, the protagonist of the earlier volumes, and his still beloved Varya. Rybakov is an old-fashioned storyteller, with a keen sense of the compelling detail.

From Publishers Weekly

The third and final volume in the saga of Soviet life under Stalin that began with Children of the Arbat and continued with Fear has the same virtues as its very impressive predecessors: a swift-moving narrative that shifts smoothly from close-up detail to panoramic social vistas, an appealing pair of star-crossed lovers at the heart of the tale and an uncanny knack for penetrating the minds of officialdom from Stalin himself on down to the lowest apparatchik. Rybakov was probably a man much like his hero, Sasha Pankratov?skeptical, even playful, but courageous in a pinch and willing always to see as much good as possible in those around him. In Dust and Ashes, Pankratov leads an uneasy life as a political outcast, separated from his beloved Varya until his imagined sins against the state are forgotten in the war against the Germans and he achieves a kind of dark apotheosis. Throughout, his adventures across a wide swath of Soviet society are compelling and convincing. Rybakov swiftly sketches opportunistic artists, cynical officials, mourning mothers, people who perform almost unnoticed good deeds in the surrounding darkness. And the interior musings of Stalin are just as surrealistically self-justifying as one imagines a paranoid dictator's would be. Brilliantly translated by Bouis (is there a better Russian literary translator around?), this novel sets the seal on one of the masterworks of contemporary Russian literature.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Arbat Trilogy, Vol 3 (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 473 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown & Co (T); 1st edition (March 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316763799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316763790
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By doc peterson VINE VOICE on December 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
_Dust and Ashes_, the final book in the Arbat trilogy (beginning with Children of the Arbat and following Fear), Rybakov has Sasha Pankratov and his childhood friends endure the Second World War. As with the earlier books, no holds are barred making for jarring and at times brutal reading. Compared to the earlier books, there is a sense of urgency in the development of the plot - I imagine to give readers a sense of crisis the war presented to Soviet citizens of the time. In a similar vein, many characters and sub-plots from the previous two books are left unaddressed, a disappointment, as I like to have all the loose ends tied together. In fact, the book ends mid-way through the war, at its turning point, the battle of Kursk. At the risk of spoiling the story, _Dust and Ashes_ (as perhaps the entire trilogy) is a tragedy.

Bearing in mind that the Second World War was devastating to the USSR, Rybakov spares no sentimentality in _Dust and Ashes_ as characters readers have come to know and love struggle, suffer and die. The overarching message I took from the book was the pointless waste of the war, largely the result of Stalin's policies. In fact, Rybakov's protrayal of Stalin was of a brutish, paranoid monster - hardly the "Soviet realism" a previous reviewer accused the author of, and closer to fact than many Russian fiction writers come.
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By A Customer on February 17, 1998
Format: Hardcover
If you want sweeping naturalistic fiction that blends the oppressiveness, madness and occasional terror of Stalinist Russia with a traditional, ultimately melodramatic love story, start with Rybakov's "Children of the Arbat" and continue through the trilogy with "Fear" and this novel. Accurately or not, these novels vividly create a sense of smothered life in Russia, with characters who represent types without becoming stereotypes. These novels are page turners in the tragic Russian tradition.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The translation is awkward but the book is wonderful. It shows a very special knowledge several sectors of Russia in this fascinating time. A must have for those interested in Stalin and Stalingrad.
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Format: Hardcover
If you haven't read Children of the Arbat and Fear, do so - now.
If you have, get this, however difficult or expensive.
This is Russian literature at its finest - and an excellent translation.
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By A Customer on December 22, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Each of the books in the trilogy, made me feel a part of the very lives A.R. was writing about. So powerful of a writer, i wished I could read Russion and read the text in the original form.
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Format: Hardcover
For those of us that grew up with Russia being the enemy, and communism stopping personal initiative, we see that life is the same all over. It was our governments that created the fiction, the containment of initiative, that those in power corrupted society. What an eye opener for an everyday person, life here ... life there ... goes on the same.
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