The Russian Interpreter

Michael Frayn
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ISBN 9780571225057 Format Paperback
Published 19/05/2005 Length 192 pages

About Book

The Russian Interpreter is a story about Raya, a mercurial Moscow blonde who speaks no English, and the affair she is embarking upon with Gordon Proctor-Gould, a visiting British businessman who speaks no Russian. They need an interpreter; which is how Paul Manning is diverted from writing his thesis at Moscow University to become involved in all the deceptions of love and East-West relations.

After the death of Stalin in 1952, the Soviet Union opened its doors to the rest of the world and Michael Frayn was one of the first foreign students to enter the country. Drawing on his experience at Moscow University in the late 1950s, he brilliantly captures a country still recovering from the Second World War, racked with suspicion and intrigue, at once harsh and easy-going, lethargic and labour-intensive.

Michael Frayn is the celebrated author of fifteen plays including Noises Off, Copenhagen and Afterlife. His bestselling novels include Headlong, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Spies, which won the Whitbread Best Novel Award and Skios, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

  • About Michael Frayn

    Michael Frayn was born in London in 1933 and began his career as a journalist on the Guardian and the Observer. His novels include Towards the End of the Morning, Headlong, Spies and Skios. His seventeen plays range from Noises Off, recently chosen as one of the nation's three favourite plays, to Copenhagen, which won the 1998 Evening Standard Award for Best Play of the Year and the 2000 Tony Award for Best Play. He is married to the writer Claire Tomalin.

    Photo credit: Ekko von Schwichow


    Watch Michael Frayn's Guardian interview here 

    Watch Michael Frayn on how he wrote Skios here 

    Watch Michael Frayn's Guardian Book Club discussion on Spies here 


    Michael Frayn's Paris Review interview on the art of the theatre here  


    'The most delightful, sophisticated novel: Michael Frayn is probably England's funniest writer.' New York Times on Towards the End of the Morning

    'As brilliant as all Michael Frayn's work.' P.G. Wodehouse on The Tin Men

    'Frayn has never written more seductively and surely than in this book.' Sunday Times on Spies

    'Fans of [Frayn's] fabulously metaphysical farce will laugh themselves sick at this novel ... Frayn can't write a sentence without making you giggle but when he's in full comic flow he's a miracle of nature.' Daily Express on Skios

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