Fat Sasha -- an urbane and friendly KGB agent posing as a journalist -- and the Urban Guerrilla (or Guerilla -- the British...

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FAT SASHA AND THE URBAN GUERILLA

Fat Sasha -- an urbane and friendly KGB agent posing as a journalist -- and the Urban Guerrilla (or Guerilla -- the British spelling retained throughout here) -- a political dissenter whose activities were curbed by his induction into the Red Army -- were two of the author's Russian friends whom he saw during a three-year stint as a foreign correspondent based in Moscow. Because Bonavia had shown what was deemed to be an excessive interest in the Russian counterculture (activists in the Democratic Movement and its fellow-travelers, Zionists, unofficial artists and other un-believers) he was expelled from the Soviet Union when the authorities cracked down on heterodoxy in 1972. Bonavia, then, is able to tell us about some interesting, unusual and courageous people; he captures the exultant, feverish and protoplasmic atmosphere within these contemporary Petrashevski circles which alternately embrace and avoid the Western visitor. He has placed his vignettes, however, in a Cold War context which features (among other tidbits) a stilted dialogue between a Russian and a foreigner in which both mouth their respective party lines, the outdated charge that the Soviets want a Communist Western Europe, and the contention that the Russians' appetite for quality literature ""only testifies to their relative intellectual starvation."" Bonavia's feelings of ""disillusionment and bitterness"" -- middle-Russia is rather grim -- often becloud his reporter's eye.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1973