NOT BY BREAD ALONE by Vladimir Dudintsev


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At the heart of this sensational expose of the Soviet order- in its industrial implications- is a rather simple story. Lopatkin, a genius and a teacher, who has invented a machine that could be of vital importance to Russian industry, is trying to get his invention accepted. He uses all possible channels, and in particular a factory director, Drozdov, whose wife, Nadia, has fallen in love with him. But Drozdov wants all credit to accrue to him. Other members of the immense bureaucratic hierarchy are determined either to steal the invention or to sidetrack it for something the opposition could claim for itself. Poor impractical Lopatkin is utterly defeated- his machine pushed aside- his plans and papers burned (or so they think)- himself sent to prison -- and the villains waxing powerful. But Lopatkin still has some spark left; when a handful of advocates rescue the plans, put the machine into operation in a remote spot, get his release- he still is able to pick up the pieces and go ahead. And it is this that Dudintsev seems to be saying. Soviet society, Soviet procedure, Soviet stupidity and cupidity may be colossal -- but the hunger for independence of thought and speech and action is still there, and a handful can win out against power, in final analysis. Lopatkin's double love story- with Jeanne, who doubted him, and with Nadia whose love smothered him, is of secondary interest. The book, translated ably by Dr. Edith Bone, is an important contribution to our understanding of Russian life today. But the massive, turgid style, so reminiscent of the Russian classics, may be a deterrent to popular consumption.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1957
Publisher: Dutton