Modrá krev (Blue Blood, 2011) tells the story of Ida Zmoiro, whom Buida based on Soviet actress Valentina Karavaeva. “Actress” sounds glamorous, but Ida’s life is filled with pain: a brief marriage to an Englishman, an accident that ruins her film career by making her face look like a broken plate, the Stalinist repression, and the sudden appearance of a former husband’s wife and child. As Ida likes to say, “happiness makes you fat”. In this dark, Soviet-era transformation of a fairy tale, Buida creates his own myth of a bright soul in a world inhabited by drunkards, madmen and crooks.
Victor Sebestyen’s Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror is the first major work in English for nearly two decades on one of the most significant figures of the twentieth century. In Russia to this day Lenin inspires adulation. Everywhere, he continues to fascinate as a man who made history, and who created a new kind of state that would later be imitated by nearly half the countries in the world.
[Novels about artists]
Besides the large novels that make up the so-called Human Comedy, Honoré de Balzac is the creator of a vast number of small-scale works, unknown masterpieces waiting to be rediscovered. The Unknown Masterpiece and Other Stories presents readers with five acclaimed stories about art and artists in which Balzac endowed a theme particularly close to his heart with a fusion of romance and realism.
How devastating viruses, pandemics, and other natural catastrophes swept through the far-flung Roman Empire and helped to bring down one of the mightiest civilizations of the ancient world.
Here is the monumental retelling of one of the most consequential chapters of human history: the fall of the Roman Empire. The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire is the first book to examine the catastrophic role that climate change and infectious diseases played in the collapse of Rome’s power—a story of nature’s triumph over human ambition.
This wild and entertaining novel expands on the true story of the West Indian slave Tituba, who was accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, arrested in 1692, and forgotten in jail until the general amnesty for witches two years later. Maryse Condé brings Tituba out of historical silence and creates for her a fictional childhood, adolescence, and old age.
[Short stories and novellas]
In this sellection of 13 stories, which were published in the New Yorker, Gallant shows herself to be one of the century’s most accomplished, and least conventional, writers of short fiction.
One of the greatest French novelists, Balzac was also an accomplished writer of shorter fiction. Farewell and Other Stories includes seven of his finest short stories on a wide range of topics and fully demonstrates the mastery of suspense and revelation that were the hallmarks of Balzac’s genius.
One night, a phone rings in Paris. Adam learns that Mourad, once his closest friend, is dying. He quickly throws some clothes in a suitcase and takes the first flight out, to the homeland he fled twenty-five years ago. Exiled in France, Adam has been leading a peaceful life as a respected historian, but back among the milk-white mountains of the East his past soon catches up with him.
Václav Polívka (1927-1971) was born into Czechoslovakia’s elite, roughly eight years after the country emerged from the ruins of Austria-Hungary. In Diaries 1945–1948, that were found in an attic in Oslo, Norway in 2012, the young medical student with a strong interest in classical music describes three crucial years for Europe, which, beginning in 1945, was moving from World War with Nazi occupation to Cold War with communist dictatorship.