Some time in the 1970s, Konstantin Alpheyev, a well-known Russian musicologist, finds himself in trouble with the KGB, the Russian secret police, after the death of his girlfriend, for which one of their officers may have been responsible. He has to flee from the city and to go into hiding. He rents an old house located on the bank of a big Russian river, and lives there like a recluse observing nature and working on his new book about Wagner. The house, a part of an old barge, undergoes strange metamorphoses rebuilding itself as a medieval schooner, and Alpheyev begins to identify himself with the Flying Dutchman. Meanwhile, the police locate his new whereabouts and put him under surveillance. A chain of strange events in the nearby village makes the police officer contact the KGB, and the latter figure out who the new tenant of the old house actually is.
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Born in Moscow, Anatoly Kudryavitsky is the grandson of an Irishman who was imprisoned in Stalin’s GULAG. Educated at the Moscow Medical Academy, he holds a PhD in Biomedical Science. In Russia, he worked as a researcher, as a magazine editor, and as a literary translator. Blacklisted in the Soviet Union until 1988, he was first published openly in 1989.
Since then, he has authored three novels, The Case-Book of Inspector Mylls (Zakharov Books, Moscow, 2008), The Flying Dutchman (Text Publishers, Moscow, 2013) and Shadowplay on a Sunless Day (Text Publishers, Moscow, 2014), as well as a book of his novellas and short stories, A Parade of Mirror and Reflections (Text Publishers, Moscow, 2017). He has also published seven collections of his poetry in Russian and three collections of his English-language poems, the latest being Horizon (Red Moon Press, 2016). He edited A Night in the Nabokov Hotel (Dedalus Press, 2006), an anthology of contemporary Russian poetry in his translations into English, and Coloured Handprints (Dedalus Press, 2015), an anthology of contemporary German-language poetry in his translations into English. He has also translated English-language classics into Russian and Polish and Swedish poetry into English.
Kudryavitsky has won many international awards for his English-language haiku, and is regarded as one of the most prominent European haiku poets. He lives in Co. Dublin, Ireland, and works as the editor of SurVision, an international magazine for Neo-Surrealist poetry, and Shamrock, an international haiku magazine. He has given readings and spoken at many European literary festivals. His poems and stories have been translated into fourteen languages.
Endorsements and Review Quotes
“I had a conflicted reaction to the book finding myself, appositely, often at sea, although there is something compelling about Alpheyev’s odyssey and the lyrical writing that kept me reading.” Mandy Jenkinson, Historical Novel Society
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