Feature

The People’s Act of Love

A labor camp escapee comes upon a 1919 Siberian village where nothing is what it seems.

A half-starved escapee from a labor camp stumbles into a Siberian village occupied by a Christian sect and a stranded Czech army unit. It is 1919, and no one in James Meek's 'œtremendously impressive' new novel knows when or if the Red Army will attack, said Michael Dirda in The Washington Post. 'œAlmost everyone' in the town 'œhas something to hide'”something terrible.' As their stories come out over the next three days, readers may feel as if they're revisiting any number of great Russian novelists. Yet Meek, a British journalist, never allows any doubts to arise about his originality, and he 'œnever lets the narrative tension slacken.' Two forms of zealotry compete for control of the village, said Boris Fishman in The New York Times. A man we are at first drawn to turns out to be a 'œbarbaric puritan,' and we cling instead to a Czech lieutenant named Mutz whose quiet decency embodies the 'œmuddled imperfection of liberal humanism.' Russia will not be a place for a man like Mutz in the months and years that lie just beyond this 'œingenious' novel. An outsider has no business wading into territory owned by Russia's literary giants, yet Meek has met the challenge. His book is 'œa meditation on grand ideas' that's also 'œa suspenseful page turner.'

Price: 24.0

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