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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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A Russian Requiem: A Novel Hardcover – September, 1993

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Against the backdrop of the failed August 1991 putsch that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and to the ascendency of Boris Yeltsin's Russian Republic, Merullo skillfully explores the lives of ordinary people caught in a dramatic transference of power. Two weeks before the attempted coup, middle-aged American diplomat Anton Czesich flies to the provincial city of Yostok to coordinate a Western hunger relief program. Jaded and cynical about politics, Czesich remains a hopeless romantic when it comes to personal honor; he ignores embassy directives to put the project on hold because of the unstable political situation and hooks up with his Russian counterpart in the relief effort, Sergei Propenko, who is unaware of the change in the U.S. position. The narrative segues between the men's troubled personal lives and political reality; they are tested by a riot over food distribution and an attack by Communist hardliners on Propenko's reform-minded daughter. While the novel never quite captures the excitement and turbulence of the stormy days that ended Soviet power (or the delightful quirkiness of Merullo's first book, Leaving Losapas ), it is smoothly written and multifaceted, solidly depicting the isolation and poverty of a city far removed from Moscow and insightfully exploring the psyches of individuals caught in the conflicts between their ideals and their careers.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

After his lyrical literary debut (Leaving Losapas, 1991), Merullo ventures into more commercial territory--in a highbrow thriller set during Russia's 1991 ``undeclared civil war.'' Based on an intimate knowledge of the Soviet Union, Merullo's timely and intriguing narrative juxtaposes the careers of two bureaucrats--both decent, ordinary men who find themselves acting heroically after years of mistakes and compromises. Approaching 50, Anton Czesich, an American descended partly from Russian immigrants, has followed a safe course as a diplomat in the information services. But his personal life's a mess--a failed marriage, and a gay son who hates him. His latest assignment (to oversee food-relief efforts in the ``Stalinist backwater'' of Vostok) reunites him with his former lover, a fellow diplomat stationed in Moscow. But the State Department, afraid of becoming too embroiled in Russia's internal affairs, throws a wrench into the works and postpones the food delivery. Czesich takes things into his own hands, hoping to bring off ``the command performance in a career of consummate bullshitting.'' In Vostok without authorization, Czesich eventually joins with Sergei Propenko, a midlevel Party functionary who's being used as a pawn between Moscow's Yeltsinites and local Party loyalists, who are disgusted with the notion of US aid. Where Czesich hopes to fulfill some vague 60's-ish pledge to change the world, Propenko acts bravely to restore himself in his family's eyes. His daughter, Lydia, is a follower of the radical priest Father Alexei, who leads local strikes against the Party. Things play themselves out with intensity and credibility, culminating in an act of stunning heroism. A moving novel--with great cinematic potential--that brilliantly captures the historically tense moment of Russia on the verge of freedom, just before the attempted coup and the Party's last gasps. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown & Co (T); 1st edition (September 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316567892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316567893
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,922,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen C. Smith on February 25, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very well written and a solid portrayal of the transition from Gobachev to Yeltsin. I thought the story line and the characters---Russian and American, were somewhat predictable. Overall, a quite good read.

SC SMITH
SCS1939@gmail.com
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I liked it but it was difficult to follow the Russian names.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
a very good look into Russian psycology /culture
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A serious story about a serious time. Merullo captures the grim realities of the time and populates the tale with believable characters- likable and loathsome, none of them quite trustworthy!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Roland Merullo does it again in this early novel that takes place during the break-up of the Soviet Union. He captures not only the hope in the face of despair of the Russian people, but weaves a fascinating fictional history of the events that brought down Reagan's "Evil Empire" through the eyes of an American food shipment liaison in a city far from the center of Moscow's power. As always the author uses place and mood to define great characters on both sides of the Cold War while telling a very believable Russo-American story that has little to do with traditional spy novels and the fight between the CIA and KGB, although the rivalry lurks in the background. An excellent book, I recommend it highly as both as a history and literary lesson.
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