Synopses & Reviews
Boris Yamplosky's The Old Arbat is a visceral portrait of fear under the Soviet regime: the inner state of a hunted man as he wanders around Moscow trying to escape the secret police. Finally, he overcomes fear by accepting the inevitable. In Vasil Bykov's The Manhunt, a dispossessed peasant secretly returns from his Siberian exile to his native village in Belarus. The local Cheka, headed by his own son, hunts him down. Given the current situation in both Russia and Belarus, this is as relevant as ever.
"These novels, in their different ways, explore the inner powerlessness of the victims. Crushed and tormented by the totalitarian system they begin to feel that they must be responsible for their own ill fate... Written in an intense, suffocating style they make a powerful reading." The Moscow Times
"The texts and voices out of Russia come through with formidable insistence. More now than ever before, precisely because hopes on their native ground are again precarious." GEORGE STEINER
With the current political situation in Russia and in Belarus, this book is more relevant today than ever before.
About the Author
Vasil Bykov (1924-2003), was a major Belorussian author. He is best known for his war novels. Amidst the flow of bombastic paeans to war heroism he was the first to look at the unheroic aspects of the war and to investigate the problem of moral choice versus personal safety. He takes the same approach writing about Russia's post-revolutionary history, marked by the Cheka's ruthless repressions of innocent people.
Boris Yampolsky (1912-1972) was a noted novelist and journalist in the late 1950s and 1960s, but his major novel, The Regime Street, (later published under the title The Old Arbat) was banned by the censor and only published in the 1990s.