Ann Arbor: Ardis, 1976. Octavo (18.5 × 12.5 cm). Original decorative card wrappers: 169,  pp. Owner inscription in black ink to inside wrapper; light sunning to base of spine; else a fine, apparently unread copy.
First edition. A cult classic of Russian postmodernism, this first novel of the Soviet-Canadian writer Sasha Sokolov (b. 1943) was initially completed in 1973 and circulated in samizdat. The manuscript was finally smuggled out of the Soviet Union by Sokolov’s Austrian wife Johanna Steindl, and published in this Ardis edition in 1976. Born in Canada to a family of a Soviet embassy attaché, Sokolov’s family returned to the Soviet Union in 1946 due to a spying scandal. Sokolov subsequently studied foreign languages at a military academy, later switching to journalism and working all manner of odd jobs, clearly unable to fit into the Soviet system. He also made several unsuccessful attempts to flee the Soviet Union. In order to avoid military service Sokolov simulated a mental breakdown which led to his spending time in a mental institution. His experiences culminated in this first novel, consisting of “a network of memories of a schizophrenic raised on Russian and Western cultural traditions”.
Scarce in the trade.
Book ID: 51820