The Spectre of Alexander Wolf by Gaito Gazdanov

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In an age in which too many so-so new books are published, perhaps it is time to rediscover the classics. If “The Spectre of Alexander Wolf” is indicative of the rest of this writer’s output, then we can only hope Pushkin Press will open the Gazdanov vault and give us more of the same.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

An Irish Times Book of the Year 'It will stay with you for the rest of your life' - Nicholas Lezard, Guardian 'This is an original at work' - George Szirtes, The Times 'Quick-paced, taut prose ... rendered beautifully in Karetnyk's accomplished new translation' - Ivan Juritz, Independent on Sunday 'Elegantly eerie ... devastatingly atmospheric ... cool, wonderfully fraught' - Eileen Battersby, Irish Times 'A mesmerising work of literature' - Antony Beevor 'Truly troubling, a weird meditation on death, war, and sex... Bryan Karetnyk's new translation makes you believe in the power of the original' - Lorin Stein, Paris Review 'Coincidence, fate, guilt, redemption, love, death and melodrama are thrillingly interwoven with irresistible style and elegance' - Val Hennessy, Daily Mail 'Of all my memories, of all my life's innumerable sensations, the most onerous was that of the single murder I had committed.' A man comes across a short story which recounts in minute detail his killing of a soldier, long ago - from the victim's point of view. It's a story that should not exist, and whose author can only be a dead man. So begins the strange quest for the elusive writer 'Alexander Wolf'. A singular classic, The Spectre of Alexander Wolf is a psychological thriller and existential inquiry into guilt and redemption, coincidence and fate, love and death. Gaito Gazdanov (Georgi Ivanovich Gazdanov, 1903-1971), son of an Ossetian forester, was born in St Petersburg and brought up in Siberia and Ukraine, he joined Baron Wrangel's White Army in 1919 aged just sixteen, and fought in the Russian Civil War until the Army's evacuation from the Krimea in 1920. After a brief sojo
 

About Gaito Gazdanov

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Gaito Gazdanov, the son of a forester, joined Baron Wrangel's White Army aged just sixteen and fought in the Russian Civil War. Exiled in Paris from 1920 onwards, he took on what jobs he could and during periods of unemployment slept on park benches or in the Métro. A job driving taxis at night eventually allowed him to attend lectures at the Sorbonne and write during the day; he soon became part of the literary scene, and was greatly acclaimed by Maxim Gorky, among others. He died in Munich in 1971.
 
Published December 17, 2013 by Pushkin Collection. 192 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, War. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Spectre of Alexander Wolf
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Nicholas Lezard on Jun 18 2013

What I can tell you is that this is a work of great potency, even though it's rather short, verging on novella length...But it punches very much above its weight, and I have a hunch that what's in it will stay with you for the rest of your life.

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by Jon Sobel on Aug 01 2013

Modernistic? Yes. Experimental? Perhaps. Successful? Not entirely. I read with interest throughout but became frustrated during the long middle section, during which the suspense dissipated – and the whole story takes only 187 of Pushkin Press’s tiny pages.

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Star Tribune

Excellent
Reviewed by Malcolm Forbes on Jan 04 2014

In an age in which too many so-so new books are published, perhaps it is time to rediscover the classics. If “The Spectre of Alexander Wolf” is indicative of the rest of this writer’s output, then we can only hope Pushkin Press will open the Gazdanov vault and give us more of the same.

Read Full Review of The Spectre of Alexander Wolf | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Reader Rating for The Spectre of Alexander Wolf
77%

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