In Rory MacLean's ground breaking debut, Winston the pig drops onto uncle Peter's head and kills him dead. It is a distressing end to a distinguished Soviet spy. After the funeral aunt Zita, a faded Austrian aristocrat and a vivacious eccentric, refuses to remain at home in East Germany. Instead she hijacks her nephew and, with Winston in tow, sets out on one last ride. The Berlin Wall fell only weeks before and Zita is determined to reach across the reopened borders and rediscover her remarkable east European family.
In a rattling Trabant the unlikely trio puff and wheeze across the changing continent, following the threads of memory. Zita's relations — the angel of Prague, the Hungarian grave digger who buried Stalin's nose, a dying Romanian propagandist — help tie together the loose ends of her life. The travellers picnic at Auschwitz. They meet Lenin's embalmer. They carry a long-lost corpse over the Carpathian mountains. Everywhere they learn what life had truly been like under totalitarian rule. They hear a torrent of life tales, some heartbreaking, some hilarious, all enriched with the joy of telling after decades of enforced silence.
Humorous and black, touched with the surreal and the farcical, Stalin's Nose is an exhilarating ride from the Baltic to the Black Sea, between Berlin and Moscow, and a portrait of Europe like no other.