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طيف ألكسندر ولف
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طيف ألكسندر ولف

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  2,015 ratings  ·  285 reviews
• «عملٌ به قوة عظيمة... لديَّ حدس بأن ما فيه سيبقى معك طيلة حياتك» - «الجارديان»
• «نثر مُحكمٌ، سريع الإيقاع» - «إندبندنت أون صنداي»
• «لُغز مُثير. إنه أكثر بكثير من قطعة فنية تاريخية، إنه عمل أدبي فاتن» - «أنطوني بيفر»
• «جيد بشكل استثنائي» - «ليتراري رفيو»
• «عمل «جازدانوف» مزيجٌ موفقٌ تمامًا من التقاليد الروسية والتجديد الفرنسي» - «لندن رفيو أف بوكس»
• «رائعة من روائع الأدب
Paperback, ترجمات الكرمة, 232 pages
Published November 8th 2018 by دار الكرمة (first published 1947)
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First a bit of biography:

Gaito Gazdanov was born Georgi Ivanovich Gazdanov in 1903 in St Petersburg, (unoriginal start) of Ossetian extraction. (is that relevant to anything?) (Ossetia is an ethnolinguistic region that straddles the border between Russia and Georgia, a geographical situation that has led to all sorts of shiftings and conflicts. It is currently seeking greater autonomy and independence.) (lose that altogether, you sound like a teacher, and anyway people can google Ossetia if they
Vit Babenco
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of all Gaito Gazdanov’s magnificent oeuvre The Spectre of Alexander Wolf was the novel that has surprised me most, I would even say that I was literally stricken by this unusual book fraught with some enigmatic tinge of magical realism.
I thought about how Wolf had become – and not so much Wolf personally as the very thought of him – the involuntary personification of everything dead and sad that existed in my life. This was supplemented by an awareness of my own guilt: I felt like a murderer sta
Gaito Gazdabov was a Russian writer born in Ossetia who enlisted in the White Army when he was just 16, and afterwards made it to Europe where he lived until his dead in 1971. For most of his life he lived in Paris, working as a taxi-driver during the night, and attending classes at the Sorbonne during the day.

Although his stories were published in several magazines, and in spite of being admired by Maxim Gorky, Gazdanov is not on the prestigious group of Great Russian writers from the 20th cen
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, Pushkin Press have rediscovered yet another fantastic novel for us to enjoy. This slim book was written by Russian emigre Gaito Gazdanov (Georgi Ivanovich Gazdanov, 1903-1971). Like the narrator of this story, Gazdanov fought in the Russian Civil War for the White Army, meaning, of course, that his work was not published in Russia until after the collapse of communism. Again, like the narrator, Gazdanov found himself in Paris, where he suffered a great deal of poverty and worked in m ...more
Gazdanov's prose is definitely my cup of tea, I'm looking forward to reading more of his work.
This novella is a mixture of detective novels, philosophical essays and romantic stories, that strongly resembles Poe's work of fiction, some would argue that it's also reminiscent of Proust's novels as well.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I discovered Gaito Gazdanov's 'The Spectre of Alexander Wolf' by a fortunate accident. I liked the storyline and got it and read it. The story told in the book goes like this. The narrator of the story is a Russian living in Paris. This is some years after the Russian Civil War is over and the communist government has come to power in Russia in the early part of the twentieth century. The narrator reads a book by an English writer called Alexander Wolf. In that book there is a story which is set ...more
Technically a 2013 release (as a new translation in various languages - personally I read the Romanian language edition and browsed the Pushkin English language one) but actually originally published in 1947/8, The Specter of Alexander Wolf is an astounding gem of a short novel; haunting from the first paragraph and with three extraordinary characters that stand out and whose intertwined fate makes for a page turning experience as you want to find out what happens next.

The novel is also a medita
Andy Weston
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translated, russia
The nameless narrator is haunted by the memory of a man he murdered in battle, as a 16 year old, a commonplace and senseless wartime killing, no one’s fault. For years after he is haunted by these images, until one day when living in Paris, he comes a short story by an English author, Alexander Wolf, which is an exact replica of the murder, from the perspective of the person he killed.
Written in 1947 there is a degree of autobiographical memoir about Gazdonov’s novel, having fought in the Civil
Dec 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, europe
The opening is strong & pulled me right in. But, the rambling narrative soon veered into other territories, not always well or smoothly connected. Some thoughts were fascinating intellectual or philosophical musings, but they lost their punch because they were buried among some longer, less interesting episodes of the book. The ending felt contrived. Perhaps the older translation I read is not as good as the more recent release by Pushkin Press? The uneven tone relegates what could have been 'gr ...more
Liam S.
This book was decent. It was relatively confusing at times, considering that this book was by a Russian author. It also consisted of some more Russian language. Such as names, places, words/phrases, etc. This book was about a Russian man who felt guilty about killing a man in a war. Later on though, he had figured out someone wrote a detailed book from his victims perspective. The only downside about this book is it only focused on that aspect in the beginning and end, the middle was just his da ...more
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I can't really make up my mind on what to think about this book.

It is certainly well written and well translated. The plot starts out very interesting, but it loses itself somewhat in a lengthy romance and musing on the inner life of the narrator. Too many coincidences were needed to drive the plot forward, and on the last few pages, a wholly new subplot is introduce which serves only the purpose of facilitating the final scene. The plot is also very predictable, even though this is certainly in
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great little book about a man haunted by an event from his youth and the effects it has in his later life. Structured in a modernist style with short detailed episodes and ruminations on memory, fate, death, love etc etc. The writing has a certain cold distance to it which allows him to move from quite straight realistic scenes to situations where memory and feeling overtake that outside reality and give it a dream like feel. This is a definite re-reader.
Acordul Fin
Your gift for thinking interferes with you: without it, of course, you’d be happy
I liked the strong opening but it quickly strayed into rambling territory. There are a couple of philosophical nuggets sprinkled along a serious of ridiculous events.
Very fine brief novel (novella?) by an émigré Russian/Ossetian writer I've been meaning to read for some years but never quite got around to until now (my loss!).

It's difficult to write too deeply about this book without revealing spoilers but the story begins during the final days of the Russian civil war and continues on through the 1920s/30s in Paris (this latter city most vividly and enjoyably realized). The actions that take place in the first part of the book influence and overshadow ever
Admittedly, I am a neophyte to Russian literature. I have read Anna Karenina and enjoyed it. I read Lolita and fell in love with the its prose and Nabokov's phrasing. I have tried (twice) to read Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov but the philosophical meanderings put me off. That's a book I have to read during the summer when I can give it its proper due.

Surfing through "The Millions" website, I came across an essay that dealt with this lost Russian classic The Spectre of Alexandre Wolf. I de
Sep 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Another dud by Gazdanov, whose resurrection by various small publishing houses doesn't cease to amaze me. After fighting in the Russian civil war, where he thinks he killed a man in self-defence, the narrator has fetched up in Paris and become a journalist. One day he chances upon a short-story recounting the events in which he took part, as if his victim had survived. Which, of course, is exactly what happened. Nonetheless, our guy remains obsessed with the episode, and tries very hard to meet ...more
This is a really interesting, previously lost, Russian classic. It's really difficult to categorise the novel as it contains so many different elements, part crime thriller, part philosphical post modern literary fiction to name two. Probably the central theme is fate and the possible existance of predestination. The initial scenes reflect the experiences of the author during the Russian Civil War, and these are the ones which will really stay with you. It is these scenes which come back to haun ...more
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like many a good book, this one begins with a murder. Both the killer and victim will remain haunted by this until the end of the book. But don't get too excited, this is not a thriller. It is more a marriage of Kafka with nouveau roman: Formality with depth imbued with absurdity. It is extremely difficult to keep the balance and the reader's attention, but Gazdanov manages. Highly recommended. Don't forget about the fish.
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 891
After this, there was one thought stuck in my head: I‘ll be reading this book sometime soon again. It had an existential twist to it, that I enjoyed a lot!
A very underrated author from Russia - strongly recommended; I immediately bought all his other book available in German.
Cristi Ivan
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-have-them
The novel is built on a moment from the narrator’s life, when he was only sixteen years old. During the Russian Civil War, when fighting on the Whites’ side, somewhere in the steppes of southern Russia, the narrator is chased by an enemy, on a magnificent white “apocalyptic” horse. The pursuer shoots and kills the narrator’s horse, but then the narrator, in self-defense, shoots back. He then goes to take the enemy’s horse but stops for a couple of seconds to look at the man’s face. He sees how t ...more
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most mesmerizing and contemplative books I have ever read. It is a novel shaped by and telling us from another age: the 20th century with all its violent breaks, deforming biographies and people’s psyches. Existential and mysterious read until the very last page, I definitely want to read it again.
Arvind Radhakrishnan
An interesting novel.I liked the way Gazdanov develops this almost eerie plot.His prose has a certain lyrical quality that lends the novel it's surreal and magical feel.Some parts of the book were truly mesmerizing.I would have given it a 3.5 rating.An enjoyable read.
Kobe Bryant
I feel like there was a lesson there that I missed
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting little book. If it took me a long time to finish reading it, that's only because I picked it up during one of my dry spells.

Now, this dry spell was induced due to a deadlock with Calvino's If On A Winter's Night A Traveler. Those who're familiar with that book know its structure: even chapters contain the starts of novels, and odd chapters trace the reader searching for the rest of the novels.
I got bored midway. The pattern became a bit too repetitive for me to go on reading.
Parrish Lantern
The Spectre of Alexander Wolf starts with the narrator describing his memory of the day he murdered a stranger. He also goes on to say that this act has haunted him every passing day since that moment, and also that despite this fact, he could not have done anything different.

This event told by the narrator, happened during the Russian Civil War where he describes himself as a young soldier in southern Russia. After two and half days without sleep he becomes separated from the rest of his troop.
"I knew both from personal experience and by the example of many of my comrades that fighting in a war has an irreparably destructive effect on almost any man. I knew also that the constant proximity of death, the sight of the killed, wounded, dying, hanged and shot, the great red flame in the icy air above blazing villages on a winter’s night, the carcass of a man’s horse and those auditory impressions - the alarm bell, shell explosions, the whistle of bullets, the desperate, unknown cries – no ...more
Jess Dalby
Hooked by the first few pages, I thought that this would be an easy quick read. However, I gave up for a few months after getting further in because it didn't seem to be going anywhere! The story lapses into philosophical essays on every other page - not that this wasn't interesting and readable - but I guess I was just expecting more from the story, since the blurb and the first few pages had seemed so exciting... Coming back to it, it is beautifully written, melancholy and intelligent. If I ha ...more
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
The main character is a Russian ex-pat working as a journalist in Paris. We learn that his life (and his personality ) has been shaped by an incident that occurred during his time as a teenage soldier in the Russian civil war. But, in the words of Forrest Gump, that all I've got to say about that. I have no intention of including spoilers in this review.
So, without discussing the plot, what was it about this book that was so fascinating? For me, it was the combination of the outer and inner lif
Jan 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I loved the opening premise of this story - our narrator killed a man during the war and later reads a book that describes that exact scenario. That book could only have been written by the man he thought he killed. Pretty cool, right? I thought so. But somewhere in the middle of this book when our protagonist is in Paris and in an obsessive love relationship with a somewhat mysterious woman I thought "boy, we've really strayed from what I thought this book was about...." And while I figured the ...more
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Gaito Gazdanov (Russian: Гайто Газданов; Ossetian: Гæздæнты Бæппийы фырт Гайто) (1903–1971) was a Russian émigré writer of Ossetian extraction. He was born in Saint Petersburg but was brought up in Siberia and Ukraine, where his father worked as a forester. He took part in the Russian Civil War on the side of Wrangel's White Army. In 1920 he left Russia and settled in Paris, where he was employed ...more

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“Your gift for thinking interferes with you: without it, of course, you’d be happy.” 8 likes
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