The exchange & other stories

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Northwestern University Press, Feb 6, 2002 - Fiction - 192 pages
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Yury Trifonov, one of the preeminent Russian writers of the twentieth century, took a turn toward the controversial-and a leap toward greatness-with the publication of the two novellas included in this collection. "The Exchange" and "The Long Goodbye," part of the "Moscow trilogy" that established Trifonov's reputation, are remarkable for their depiction of the complex dilemmas and compromises of Russian life after the Second World War. These works, along with the two short stories "Games at Dusk" and "A Short Stay in the Torture Chamber," detail the moral and spiritual decline in Russia that resulted from the growing distance between the theoretical idealism of the Soviet state and the actual materialism and careerism that increasingly marked Russian society. While immersing readers in the social milieus of his characters, and in the specifics of their days, Trifonov finds and examines the precise moment when a person takes a wrong turn in life, the moment of moral betrayal. Whether the moment occurs in a woman's plot to obtain better living quarters by taking in her dying mother-in-law or in the corruption of love and talent by ambition in an affair between an actress and a writer, Trifonov brings the clashes between different generations, cultural backgrounds, ideals, and realities to nuanced, disturbing, and memorable life.

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The Exchange
The Long Goodbye

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About the author (2002)

Yury Trifonov (1925-81) began publishing in 1947 and received a Stalin Prize for his novel Students in 1951. He wrote a number of well-received works but became an increasingly controversial figure with the publication of "The Exchange" (1969), "Taking Stock" (1970), and "The Long Goodbye" (1971). His works The Old Man, Disappearance, and Another Life and The House on the Embankment are published by Northwestern University Press.

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