cover image Pravda


Edward Docx, . . Mariner, $13.95 (395pp) ISBN 978-0-618-53440-1

Docx’s second novel (after The Calligrapher ) wrings out all the theatrics to be had from unhappy urban-dwelling twins, their sexually voracious father and dead Russian mother. Twins Gabriel and Isabella Glover, both 32 and leading lackluster lives—she at a New York PR firm, he the editor in London of Self-Help! magazine—see another crack form in their perennially tortured existences when their mother, Maria, who defected to marry their British father, dies alone in St. Petersburg. (Their despised father, Nicholas, meanwhile, dabbles in art, decadence and self-important interior monologues in Paris.) All are unaware of an additional family member: Arkady Artamenkov, their mother’s first son, who had been kept afloat by Maria’s financial assistance and the guiding hand of his junkie friend, Henry Whey. After the checks stop, Henry hatches a plan to send Arkady to plead for money from the family that doesn’t know he exists. Though Docx’s prose can get dangerously overheated (“Give me the sincerity of nakedness and the honesty of desire, O God, and deliver me from the turgid bourgeoisie and all their favorite phrases”), the crushing atmosphere will draw in fans of dark Euro-fiction. (Mar.)