A Captive of the Caucasus

Andrei Bitov, Author, Susan Brownsberger, Translator Farrar Straus Giroux $23 (323p) ISBN 978-0-374-11883-9
Acclaimed for his novel Pushkin House and his stories, Russian writer Bitov undertakes a spiritual odyssey in this impressionistic travel memoir of Armenia and Soviet Georgia. In ``Lessons of Armenia'' (1969), the book's first half, he awakens from stagnation and resolves to live in the present moment. Celebrating Armenia's natural beauty, hospitality and simpler way of life, he breaks free from the confines of his homeland, only to discover that in some sense he is still in Russia. In ``Choosing a Location,'' written about the Caucasus in the years just before glasnost, Bitov encounters a nation struggling with its identity as the birthplace of Stalin. Everywhere he goes, he collides with the ghosts of Pushkin, Lermontov and Tolstoy, who enshrouded the Caucasus in romantic stories of love and valor. The smooth translation relays the kinetic energy of Bitov's episodic, alert, hypersensitive style. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Paperback - 978-0-00-272668-9
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