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Summer in Baden-Baden (Faber Editions)

Leonid Tsypkin

Join Dostoevsky on his tumultuous honeymoon in this miraculous Soviet-era cult classic, introduced by Susan Sontag.

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Join Dostoevsky on his tumultuous honeymoon in this hypnotic cult classic , introduced by Susan Sontag.

‘A wonderful work of art.’ Jon McGregor
Extraordinary in its confidence and enchantment.’ Chris Power
‘Addictive, dreamlike and dazzlingly unique.’ Adam Thirlwell
‘Luminous, melancholy and enraptured.’ Chloe Aridjis

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-Baden was 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.

Critic Reviews

Fidgety, desperate, and defiantly brilliant, this short shout of a novel perfectly evokes both an apparition of Dostoevsky and the circumstances of its own creation ... A frantic, frenetic, fever-burst of a novel; a wonderful work of art.

Jon McGregor
Critic Reviews

There is no other novel quite like this one. The way it dances between forms – fiction and biography, story and essay, Dostoevsky’s life and Tsypkin’s own – is extraordinary in its confidence and enchantment. Of all the novels that imagine their way into a writer’s life, this is, I think, my favourite.

Chris Power
Critic Reviews

A wonderful novel - addictive, dreamlike and dazzlingly unique: unique in its production, in its composition and in its poignantly absolute trust in literature as a way of life.

Adam Thirlwell
Critic Reviews

Among the most beautiful, exalting, and original achievements of a century's worth of fiction ... One emerges purged, shaken, fortified, breathing a little deeper, grateful to literature.

Susan Sontag
Critic Reviews

An extraordinary novel, strange and spectral and incantatory. Tsypkin takes us on an exhilarating train journey in which we follow the contours of his obsession, through scenes and landscapes that shift between the luminous, melancholy and enraptured. It is also a profound exploration of a writer’s existence. This brilliant, haunting work offers the reader a most stirring form of travel: through the formidable imagination of a dreamer who never left his native country.

Chloe Aridjis
Critic Reviews

Amazing, beautiful, extraordinary … There is surely nothing like it anywhere.