THE ESCAPE by Mark Aldanov


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A dark, introspective glimpse at a group of upper middle class intelligentsia in St. Petersburg on the eve of and during the early stages of the Russian Revolution, this is a confused story with intermittently brilliant scenes and character sketches. From its contrived beginning to its inconclusive end, it holds up a mirror to the gay but decadent world of the well-to-do Russian at a time when his armies were crumbling before the Germans and his country was yielding to subterranean schism. The murder of a rich banker in a flat where he entertained his women involves a rich lawyer and a converted Jew, his luxury-loving daughter and her British fiance, a distinguished chemist who has a loathesome fascination, an Investigating Magistrate and his son. There are banquets, balls, sleigh rides through snow-covered St. Petersburg, then the contrast of the revolution, and though there are elements here of distinction, unity is gravely lacking. We question whether Aldanov has ever reached a popular public.

Pub Date: Sept. 11th, 1950
Publisher: Scribner