• Angels On The Head Of A Pin

Voted one of the ten best Russian novels of the twentieth century.

Angels on the Head of a Pin is set in Moscow in the late 1960s, at a time when Khrushchev-era liberalization is being threatened by the return to personality cult and repression following the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia. The editor-in-chief of the Communist Party newspaper collapses with a heart attack outside the Central Committee building. This is partly brought on by the appearance of a samizdat manuscript on his desk that leads to his anguishing over who left it and what to do with it to avoid falling victim to the malevolence its content is likely to unleash. The solution lies with Yakov Rappoport, an ageing and cynical Jewish veteran of the war and two spells in the Gulag, the author of not only the obnoxious popular campaigns sponsored by the newspaper (and all its letters to the editor) but of every single speech that gets made in public by the principals of the regime as well. His efforts to help his stricken editor, as well as the novel's star-crossed lovers, lead to a hallucinatory climax.

‘This stunning work of genius . . . as scathingly funny as it is unrelentingly deadly.’ – Review of Contemporary Fiction

‘I congratulate Yuri Druzhnikov on an excellent and very important book. This is the way, gradually, that at least most Soviet lies will be revealed, if not all of them.’ – Alexander Solzhenitsyn

‘Combines the scope of Solzhenitsyn with the mordant humour of Bulgakov.’ – Observer

‘Ambitious epic satire . . . Employing the newspaper in much the same way that Solzhenitsyn used a hospital as a metaphor in Cancer Ward, Druzhnikov captures the essence of Russian life before the collapse of Communism.’ – Publisher's Weekly

‘Sparkles with the lunatic brilliance that characterizes the very best satirical writing.’ – Jewish Chronicle

‘It's no wonder that this work was voted one of the ten best Russian novels of the twentieth century.’ – US Library Journal

‘Combines a sense of humour with a fantastic ability to write between the lines.’ Isaac Bashevis Singer


YURI DRUZHNIKOV is the author of a number of works of fiction and non-fiction. Blacklisted until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the first edition of this novel sold a quarter of a million copies and was deemed one of the ten best Russian novels of the century at the 1999 Warsaw Conference. In 2001 the author was put forward by Poland for the Nobel Prize. He emigrated to the USA in 1987 and now teaches at the University of California at Davis.

Bibliographic Data
Date Published 21st February 2003
Format Ebook only
ISBN Number 9780720611700

Angels On The Head Of A Pin

  • £3.99

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Tags: Soviet, communism, soviet society, Solzhenitsyn, satire, Russian novel, Russian literature, KGB, russian novelists, yuri, yuri druzhnikov, yuri druznikhov, druznikov, druzhnikov, ebook