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Book Launch: Gaito Gazdanov’s The Spectre of Alexander Wolf

Book Launch

Language: English

Speakers: Bryan Karetnyk,Richard Godwin,Vitali Vitaliev,Masha Padziarei

An evening celebrating Pushkin Press’s new English translation of Gaito Gazdanov’s 1947 novel The Spectre of Alexander Wolf . The event will begin with an interview with Bryan Karetnyk, followed by drinks and canapés.

“A masterpiece of modern literature... I haven’t read such a humanely fine and moving novel about the great twentieth- century Ice Age of the Soul in a long time.” Die Zeit

“If Proust had been a Russian taxi driver in Paris in the 1930s...” L’Express

“Of course, you sense yourself that you are very talented... talented in your own, very special way.” Maxim Gorky, letter to Gazdanov, February 1930

Already published in Germany (Hanser, 2012) and France (Viviane Hamy, 2013) to great acclaim, and forthcoming in the Netherlands (Lebowski and Cossee, 2013) and Israel, this new translation finally puts the great classic novel The Spectre of Alexander Wolf back into the hands of an English readership. Part existentialist detective novel and part metaphysical adventure, this is a rare bird: an entertaining, enthralling, visceral novel of ideas—with a love story. Both clever and deeply moving, ironic and philosophical, it is written with dynamic elegance by one of the lost generation of inter-war Russian émigré writers.


Gaito Gazdanov , the son of a forester, joined Baron Wrangel’s White Army aged just sixteen and fought in the Russian Civil War. Exiled in Paris in the 1920s, he took on what jobs he could and during periods of unemployment slept on park benches or in the Métro. A job driving taxis at night eventually allowed him to attend lectures at the Sorbonne and write during the day; he soon became part of the literary scene, and was greatly acclaimed by Maxim Gorky, among others. He died in Munich in 1971.

Click here to find out more about the story behind The Spectre of Alexander Wolf .

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