DescriptionSummer in Baden-Baden was acclaimed by The New York Review of Books as "a short poetic masterpiece" and by Donald Fanger in The Los Angeles Times as "gripping, mysterious and profoundly moving."
A complex, highly original novel, Summer in Baden-Baden has a double narrative. It is wintertime, late December: a species of "now." A narrator--Tsypkinis on a train going to Leningrad. And it is also mid-April 1867. The newly married Dostoyevskys, Fyodor, and his wife, Anna Grigor'yevna, are on their way to Germany, for a four-year trip. This is not, like J. M. Coetzee's The Master of St. Petersburg, a Dostoyevsky fantasy. Neither is it a docu-novel, although its author was obsessed with getting everything "right." Nothing is invented, everything is invented. Dostoyevsky's reckless passions for gambling, for his literary vocation, for his wife, are matched by her all-forgiving love, which in turn resonates with the love of literature's disciple, Leonid Tsypkin, for Dostoyevsky. In a remarkable introductory essay (which appeared in The New Yorker), Susan Sontag explains why it is something of a miracle that Summer in Baden-Baden has survived, and celebrates the happy event of its publication in America with an account of Tsypkin's beleaguered life and the important pleasures of his marvelous novel.
New Directions Publishing Corporation
September 17, 2003
5.02 X 0.53 X 7.8 inches | 0.46 pounds
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About the Author
Leonid Tsypkin was born in Minsk in 1926 of Russian-Jewish parents, both physicians. His last book, Summer in Baden-Baden, is the culmination of a passionate, clandestine literary vocation; a distinguished medical researcher by profession, Tsypkin never saw a page of his literary work published during his lifetime. The manuscript of Summer in Baden-Baden was smuggled out of the Soviet Union in 1981, and the novel was first published in a Russian-émigré weekly in the United States. Tsypkin, who had been twice denied permission to leave the Soviet Union with his family, died of a heart attack in Moscow in 1982.
Susan Sontag was the author of four novels, including The Benefactor, Death Kit, The Volcano Lover, and In America, which won the 2000 National Book Award for fiction; a collection of stories, I, etcetera; several plays, including Alice in Bed; and nine works of essays, among then On Photography, which won the National Books Critics Circle Award for criticism. In 2001, Sontag was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for the body of her work. She died in New York City in 2004.
"Although its publication comes almost 20 years after the death of its author, and although his name continues to go unrecognized in Russia, this slender volume stands to change the way we think of 20th-century Russian fiction. It is, in more ways than one, a chronicle of fevered genius."