The Burn: A Novel in Three Books : Late Sixties, Early Seventies

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Random House Publishing Group, 1984 - Fiction - 528 pages
4 Reviews
The inventive, ribald, potentially explosive activities of five talented Muscovites during the years of Khrushchev's thaw are revealed as aspects of one central figure, Tolya von Steinbock, who encapsulates his generation's hopes, aspirations, and despair

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It makes me incredibly sad to see such terrible reviews of such a fantastic novel. Life changing would be the word to describe it. Every little detail in this book, seems to have a deeper meaning and symbolism. Politically, this book is extremely important and if you are interested in USSR related literature, and the secret life of young people living there, this book is truly a treasure. It's long, and the translation if you read the one by Michael Glenny is remarkably well done. It's a powerful and well written book. Although, if you do not have a good grasp or interest of the time period or the Soviet era I may not recommend the book for you. Regardless, I felt the stories of the seven characters featured still spoke to me. And maybe the world I experience is not at all that different from theirs.  

Review: The Burn

User Review  - Jeremy - Goodreads

Absolutely stunning. A visceral, feral look at the failures of the Soviet state and its fundamental attack on the very core of the human condition. Read full review

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About the author (1984)

Vassily Aksyonov was born in Kazan, Russia on August 20, 1932. His parents were victims of the Stalin-era repressions. He was raised in an orphanage. He graduated from the Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) Medical Institute in 1956 and worked as a doctor for the next three years. His first stories were published in 1958 in the popular journal Yunost (Youth). His first novel, Colleagues, was published in 1961. In the 1970s, his work was kept from publication by Soviet censors. In 1979, he along with several others published the journal Metropol, which featured works that did not receive official permission to appear. He lived in the United States from 1980 to 2004 and taught Russian literature at several American universities including George Mason University and Goucher College. His works include A Ticket to the Stars, The Burn, Oranges from Morocco, The Island of Crimea, In Search of Melancholy Baby and Generations of Winter. He won the Russian Booker Prize in 2004 for his novel Voltairiens and Voltairiennes. He died on July 6, 2009 at the age of 76.

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