José Manuel Prieto

Encyclopedia of a Life in Russia

Two misfits explore the possibilities of post-Communist Russia in this “formally audacious novel [that] bubbles with energy and mischief” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
Acclaimed Cuban author José Manuel Prieto draws on his expertise in Russian culture to craft a kaleidoscopic portrait of its post-Communist moment. Through alphabetical entries from Abacas to Zizi, Prieto unfolds the story of two misfits on a wild adventure, caught between old world traditions and contemporary Western influences.
Thelonius Monk (not his real name) and Linda Evangelista (not her real name) meet in Saint Petersburg after the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991. They journey to Yalta, where Thelonius promises to make Linda famous in the fashion magazines. But in fact, he’s drafting a novel about her. Along the way, they indulge in extravagant dinners, luxury automobiles, and seaside hotels as they discuss the nature of love, art, celebrity, and the unknown future before them.
At the crossroads of literature, philosophy, history, and pop culture, Prieto delivers sparkling meditations on everything from Bach and Dostoyevsky to Italian alligator shoes and fluoride toothpaste. The result is a singular novel that captures a nation straddling custom and innovation.
208 printed pages
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