The Dissident


Product Details

$28.00  $26.04
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.4 X 1.5 inches | 1.15 pounds

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About the Author

Paul Goldberg is the author of the novels The Yid, which was a finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and the National Jewish Book Award's Goldberg Prize for Debut Fiction, and The Château. As a reporter, Goldberg has written two books about the Soviet human rights movement, and coauthored (with Otis Brawley) How We Do Harm, an expose of the US health-care system. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Slate, The New York Times, and elsewhere. He is also the editor and publisher of The Cancer Letter, a newsletter focused on the business and politics of cancer. He lives in Washington, DC.


"Written with fervor, black humor and an infectious zest for Russian culture . . . [this] always stimulating novel is a feast for serious fiction readers." --Wendy Smith, The Washington Post

"A fast-paced . . . polyglot picaresque bursting with literary and artistic allusions . . . [Goldberg] handles his labyrinthine plot and long cast of characters with aplomb, while managing to keep the novel's narrative voice jaunty and the pace taut . . . The Dissident is at once a time capsule, a critical commentary on Russian literature, and an indictment of Soviet society and its successor regimes." --Julia M. Klein, Forward

"[A] darkly comic tale . . . A refreshing and literary take on the genre that appeals to the intellect as well as the pulse." --Library Journal (starred review)

"Another strong performance by Goldberg, a master at dissecting divided souls. A smart, satirically streaked novel." --Kirkus

"Goldberg's genre-defying thriller mixes political reflections, historical perspectives, philosophical musings, and the author's personal take on the culture and society of Russia, where he lived until he was 14 . . . mesmerizing, eclectic, and intriguing." --Booklist

"Enjoyably absurd . . . Goldberg is an impressively encyclopedic guide. Readers looking for an ambitious, off the beaten path comedic mystery will find plenty to enjoy." --Publishers Weekly

"Crime and Punishment--for the Jews! Paul Goldberg's newest is a dead-serious, dead-funny, no-he-didn't marvel." --Joshua Cohen, author of The Netanyahus

"The Dissident is a murder mystery, a love story, a diplomatic thriller, and a glimpse into a pivotal moment in Soviet history. But most of all it is a joy. An incandescent conjuring of Moscow in the 1970s full of dark humor, vodka, smoked fish, and choices no one should be forced to make, The Dissident is a hilarious and erudite novel brimming over with life." --Michael David Lukas, author of The Last Watchman of Old Cairo

"Paul Goldberg crafts an unexpected and fully original Cold War mystery with a force of knowledge about his subject. In one way, it's a highfalutin and wild ride, but the simplicity and harmony of a good novel is never lost. The Dissident is a brilliant dose of the humanist compassion we all need right now." --Derek B. Miller, author of How to Find Your Way in the Dark

"Paul Goldberg's love letter to samizdat is a hilarious, anarchic tour through Soviet era Moscow and the absurd negotiations required to survive. Tense and witty, scathing yet affectionate, this wonderfully overstuffed rollercoaster is a perceptive and wise snapshot of refusenik life during the Cold War. Somewhere, Bulgakov is smiling." --Mark Sarvas, author of Memento Park

"Everything in this remarkably engaging, fast-paced, ingeniously plotted, and, in all, beautifully wrought book--by turns funny and heartbreaking--rings true, because everything in it is true. It is, above all else, an impeccably authentic fictionalized testimony. The parallels with present-day Russia drawn in this novel are inevitable and uncanny. The Dissident is essential reading for our times." --Mikhail Iossel, author of Love Like Water, Love Like Fire

"The Dissident is not a history of Soviet dissent. The Dissident is literature, a novel that follows the conventions of a detective story. Its masterfully crafted detective plot and wordplay--with translations from Russian to English and English to Russian (with a dollop of Yiddish)--will undoubtedly please any reader." --Aleksandar Daniel', member of the board of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization International Memorial