Don't Die Before You're Dead by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

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Infused with a passionate lyricism and vision, this stunning, extraordinarily insightful, autobiographical novel about life, love, and politics in contemporary Russia, written by renowned poet and political activist Yevtushenko, presages all too accurately the strife that grips Russia today.

About Yevgeny Yevtushenko

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Yevtushenko was born in a small junction on the Trans-Siberian Railroad (the subject of his 1956 long poem Zima Junction). After Stalin's death in 1953, he emerged as an important poet and spokesman for the younger generation. In 1961 Yevtushenko published "Babi Yar," which deals with the notorious wartime massacre of Jews in a ravine near Kiev. The poem made Yevtushenko internationally famous, and because it raised the spectre of domestic anti-Semitism, aroused a storm of official opposition. He also created a furor with "Stalin's Heirs" (1962), which raised the spectre of resurgent Stalinism. Over the years, however, Yevtushenko became part of the Soviet establishment. He seriously damaged his early reputation as a defender of artistic freedom by easily yielding to coercion to write works following the official line. Yet at times he took quite liberal positions at odds with the powers that be. In the Gorbachev period, he became active in political life and has continued to advocate reform, fighting for change within the Writers' Union. Like Voznesensky, Yevtushenko traveled extensively abroad. His trips inspired many topical, sometimes autobiographical works well received by Western as well as Russian readers: Though exuberant in his verbal style, the poet is quite accessible. But overall, although sometimes quite effective, his writing lacks true depth. Antonina W. Bouis is the prize-winning translator of more than fifty books, including fiction, nonfiction, and memoirs by such figures as Andrei Sakharov, Elena Bonner, and Dmitri Shostakovich.
Published October 31, 1995 by Random House. 415 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Two life stories take center stage, giving the growing political drama a touching, sometimes even sentimental, tenderness.

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Publishers Weekly

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In what Russian poet Yevtushenko calls an autobiographical novel (but in which he makes only occasional appearances), he weaves together a series of stories about people caught up in the events of August 1991, when an attempted coup against President Gorbachev led to a people's counter-coup and t...

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