Deceit

£12.00

Yuri Felsen, trans. Bryan Karetnyk

Deceit is the first major work by Yuri Felsen, referred to by his contemporaries as ‘the Russian Proust’, a significant writer who died in the gas chambers in Auschwitz, and whose legacy and archive was destroyed by the Nazis.

Written in the form of a diary, the novel recounts the unnamed narrator’s complex and emotionally fraught relationship with his love interest and sometime muse. While the plot itself is relatively simple, the real revelation in Felsen’s writing is its supreme originality of language and psychological introspection.

Quite unlike any other writer in the Russian canon, Felsen evokes in rich, poetic, idiosyncratic prose not only the Zeitgeist of interwar Europe and his émigré milieu, but also its psychology and the existential crisis of the age. What Nabokov achieves with images and the physical world, Felsen does with the emotional and metaphysical.

This is the first English translation of this landmark modernist novel.

Available to pre-order. Published 31 May 2022. 

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Description

Deceit is the first major work by Yuri Felsen, referred to by his contemporaries as ‘the Russian Proust’, a significant writer who died in the gas chambers in Auschwitz, and whose legacy and archive was destroyed by the Nazis.

Written in the form of a diary, the novel recounts the unnamed narrator’s complex and emotionally fraught relationship with his love interest and sometime muse. While the plot itself is relatively simple, the real revelation in Felsen’s writing is its supreme originality of language and psychological introspection.

Quite unlike any other writer in the Russian canon, Felsen evokes in rich, poetic, idiosyncratic prose not only the Zeitgeist of interwar Europe and his émigré milieu, but also its psychology and the existential crisis of the age. What Nabokov achieves with images and the physical world, Felsen does with the emotional and metaphysical

This is the first English translation of this landmark modernist novel.

Yuri Felsen was the pseudonym of Nikolai Freudenstein. Born in St Petersburg in 1894, he emigrated in the wake of the Russian Revolution, first to Riga and then to Berlin, before finally settling in Paris in 1923. In France, he became one of the leading writers of his generation, alongside the likes of Vladimir Nabokov; influenced by the great modernists such as Marcel Proust, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, his writing stood at the forefront of aesthetic and philosophical currents in European literature. Following the German occupation of France at the height of his career, Felsen tried to escape to Switzerland; however, he was caught, arrested and interned in Drancy concentration camp. He was deported in 1943 and killed in the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

Bryan Karetnyk is a British writer and translator. His recent translations include major works by Gaito Gazdanov, Irina Odoevtseva and Boris Poplavsky. He is also the editor of the landmark Penguin Classics anthology Russian Émigré Short Stories from Bunin to Yanovsky.

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