A comic novel about the theater world in early Soviet Russia and a “biting attack on censorship” (The Guardian, UK).
From the author of The Master and Margarita, this semi-autobiographical satirical novel paints a vibrant portrait of life behind the curtains of the Russian literary and theater arenas in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Maxudov is a failed novelist who, after contemplating suicide, adapts his novel into a play that—seemingly at random—is chosen to be produced at the renowned Independent Theatre. As it so often does in theater, chaos ensues—including bloodthirsty battles between the show’s two co-directors (modeled on Stanislavsky, the famed inventor of Method Acting, and his co-director) over control of the production; near-constant drama brewing between the actors; and the playwright’s own growing host of misgivings and insecurities about his place in the theatrical community.
With each rehearsal turning more disastrous than the last, it becomes less and less clear whether Maxudov’s play will ever be performed at all…
“A masterpiece of black comedy.” —The Irish Times