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Summer in Baden-Baden (Faber Editions) : ‘A miracle’ – Susan Sontag

Leonid Tsypkin, Susan Sontag
Format: Paperback
Publisher: FABER & FABER
Published: June 6, 2024
ISBN: 9780571386895
240 pages
Country of publication: United Kingdom


Why was I reading this book now, in a railway-carriage, beneath a wavering, flickering, electric light-bulb . .

Summer, 1867:
 The newlywed Dostoevsky and his young wife Anna – his one-time secretary – are travelling to the German spa resort of Baden-Baden on honeymoon. Their love is ecstatic, yet the author is plagued by demons: haunted by his crimes and punishments, consumed by fevers of jealousy, gambling to avoid mounting debts and shaken by epileptic fits.

Winter, 1970s: Our Jewish narrator embarks on a pilgrimage from Moscow to Leningrad to trace the footsteps of his literary hero. As the train travels across the Soviet Union’s bleak expanses, he immerses himself in Anna’s travel journal: and their journeys – past and present, real and imagined – soon become entwined.

The result of a clandestine literary vocation, Summer in Baden-Badenwas smuggled out of the Soviet Union in 1981 and first published in a Russian émigré weekly in the USA. It has since been hailed as a trailblazing modern classic, translated into more than twenty languages – and its hypnotic, enigmatic power only grows.

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