Synopses & Reviews
In his novel based on the extraordinary life of the gay brother of Vladimir Nabokov, Paul Russell re-creates the rich and changing world in which Sergey, his family and friends lived; from wealth and position in pre-revolutionary Russia, to the halls of Cambridge University, and the Parisian salon of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. But it is the honesty and vulnerability of Sergey, our young gay narrator, that hook the reader: his stuttering childhood in the shadow of his brilliant brother, his opium-fueled evenings with his sometime lover Cocteau, his troubled love life on the margins of the Ballets Russes and its legendary cast, and his isolation in war torn Berlin where he will ultimately be arrested, sent to a camp and die in 1945.
A meticulously researched novel, in which you will meet an extraordinary cast of characters including Picasso, Diaghilev, Stravinsky, Magnus Hirschfield ("Tante Magnesia"), Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Cocteau, and of course the master himself, Vladimir Nabokov, this is ultimately the story of a beautiful and vulnerable homosexual boy growing into an enlightened and courageous man.
"In this meticulously researched novel, Russell (The Coming Storm) imagines the life of the younger, and now forgotten, Nabokov Sergey. Always living in the shadow of his older brother, Sergey finds himself in 1943 Berlin working for the Propaganda Ministry. When he realizes that he may be under surveillance, he begins hastily penning his life story. From his birth in pre-revolutionary Russia, Sergey (cursed with a stutter) claims that his parents viewed him as Vladimir's pale comparison. As Sergey tells of his early life in St. Petersburg, the narrative shifts to depicting a homosexual man living in uncertain times, with touches of glamour as Sergey meets Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, and Jean Cocteau, among others. Sergey's struggles with his sexuality, as well as his adventures and misadventures in the salons and clubs of pre-war Europe, are drawn with humanity. With compelling characters and steady prose, the reader will breeze through this pleasurable, heart-breaking account of the other Nabokov. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
is the author of The Salt Point, Sea of Tranquility,
and the Ferro-Grumley Award-winning The Coming Storm.
Russell has received many nominations and awards for his writing. He is the author of the indispensable reference book The Gay 100