The commissariat of enlightenment /

Joining the media circus that attends the deathbed of Tolstoy in 1910, ambitious cinematographer Nikolai Gribshin hopes to capture Tolstoy's death on film and encounters the scientist Vorobev and revolutionist Joseph Stalin.

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Main Author: Kalfus, Ken. (Author)
Format: Book
Language:English
Published:New York : Ecco, 2003.
Edition:1st ed.
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Main Author:Kalfus, Ken.
Summary:Joining the media circus that attends the deathbed of Tolstoy in 1910, ambitious cinematographer Nikolai Gribshin hopes to capture Tolstoy's death on film and encounters the scientist Vorobev and revolutionist Joseph Stalin.

With this remarkable debut novel, Ken Kalfus gives us a stunning triumph of invention -- an epic story about the death of two Russian visionaries, the life of a radical antihero, and the birth of a new kind of power.

It begins in 1910 in Astapovo, a remote Russian railway station, where Leo Tolstoy lies dying of pneumonia. Members of the press from around the world have descended upon this sleepy hamlet to record his passing for a public suddenly ravenous for celebrity news. They have been joined by a film company whose young assistant, Nikolai Gribshin, is capturing the extraordinary scene and learning how to wield a camera as a political tool. At this historic moment he comes across two men -- the scientist, Professor Vorobev, and the revolutionist, Joseph Stalin -- who have bold, mysterious plans for the future that will inevitably involve him. With the coming of the Russian Revolution, Gribshin takes on the nom de guerre Comrade Astapov and joins the Bolshevik ministry of propaganda. In league now with Stalin and Vorobev, he plots to kill Lenin and glorify his embalmed body, promoting a vision of lifeless immortality that will dominate the minds of millions. In this brutal, absurd age, Gribshin seeks to transform himself and redirect the course of history.

Displaying the same mastery of form and intimate knowledge of Russian culture that distinguished his award- winning short stories, Ken Kalfus has produced a work of grand scope and ambition. The Commissariat of Enlightenment is a mesmerizing novel of ideas that brilliantly links the tragedy and comedy of the Russian Revolution with the global empire of images that occupies our imaginations today. Filled with intelligence, humor, and rich, vivid storytelling, it firmly establishes Ken Kalfus as one of our most daring and talented writers.

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Physical Description:295 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography:Includes bibliographical references (pages 293-295).
ISBN:0060501367
9780060501365
Author Notes:

Ken Kalfus is an American writer who has lived in Paris, Dublin, Belgrade, and most recently, Moscow. His first book, Thirst (also available from WSP), was one of the most celebrated story collections in recent years, meriting inclusion in the best-of-the-year lists of the New York Times, Salon, the Village Voice, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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