Savage Shorthand: The Life and Death of Isaac Babel
Hailed as the first great Soviet writer, Isaac Babel was at once a product and a victim of violent revolution. In tales of Cossack marauders and flashy Odessa gangsters, he perfectly captured the raw, edgy mood of the first years of the Russian Revolution. Masked, reckless, impassioned, charismatic, Babel himself was as fascinating as the characters he created. At last, in...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Random House
(first published October 18th 2005)
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Sep 01, 2009 Bibliophile rated it 3 of 5 stars
Isaac Babel was one of a number of great Russian writers who were silenced - both literally and metaphorically in the case of Babel and Osip Mandelstam - by Stalin's regime. Perhaps nothing could have saved him from the executioner's bullet in the cellar of the Moscow's Lubyanka, but it surely didn't help matters that he had once had an affair with the wife of Nikolai Yezhov, the head of the NKVD during the great purges of the mid-1930s. (In a fitting display of dramatic irony, Yezhov's own life...more
I am enthralled - it's a story of one man, but also an era - I am learning so much about Stalin. It is the perfect book to read after I finally had the chance to see The Pianist. I am reading it on iPad, which is perfect, because I can bookmark all the wonderful lines I want to remember. "Stalin surrounded himself with half-men and hacks."
Jerome Charyn has been teaching film for the past fourteen years at the American University of Paris. His novel, The Green Lantern, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and he has also received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Charyns new novel, The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, an astonishing work that reveals the passions and heartbreak of Americas greate...moreMore about Jerome Charyn...