Publication Date: 09/02/2023 ISBN: 9781912854462 Category:

The Long Song of Tchaikovsky Street

Pieter Waterdrinker, Paul Evans

Publisher: Scribe Publications
Publication Date: 09/02/2023 ISBN: 9781912854462 Category:
Paperback / Softback




A Daily Express Book of the Year

‘Engrossing … grips you and doesn’t let go.’ The Spectator

‘Waterdrinker’s gift for savage comedy and his war correspondent’s eye have few contemporary equivalents.’ The Times

A thrilling escapade through the Soviet Union of the ’90s and early 2000s by a tour guide turned smuggler turned novelist, that tells the unputdownable story of modern Russia.

One day, in 1988, a priest knocks on Pieter Waterdrinker’s door with an unusual request: will he smuggle seven thousand bibles into the Soviet Union? Pieter agrees, and soon finds himself living in the midst of one of the biggest social and cultural revolutions of our time, working as a tour operator … with a sideline in contraband. During the next thirty years, he witnesses, and is sometimes part of, the seismic changes that transform Russia into the modern state we know it as today.

This riveting blend of memoir and history provides startling insight into the emergence of one of the world’s most powerful and dangerous countries, as well as telling a nail-biting, laugh-out-loud adventure story that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Publisher Review

'Waterdrinker's gift for savage comedy and his war correspondent's eye have few contemporary equivalents.' -- Simon Ings * The Times * 'A gripping memoir by one of Holland's most admired novelists ... a valuable historical document of the era.' -- Rupert Christiansen * The Telegraph * 'Engrossing ... grips you and doesn't let go.' -- Matthew Janney * The Spectator * 'A disarming, erudite, shocking, laugh-out-loud Dutch bestseller.' -- Rory Maclean * TLS * 'A wonderful, page-turning narrative ... fascinating and endlessly readable ... Waterdrinker is a gifted storyteller.' -- Donal O'Keeffe * Irish Examiner * 'The recreations of revolutionary Russia are vivid (including his hatred of the Tsar, Lenin, and Stalin) as is the daily reality of living in glasnost Russia. There are some positively Dostoevskian characters, and his portrait of Russia caught at twin moments of upheaval (1917, 1988) is an epic tale told with deceptive simplicity.' -- Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen * The Sydney Morning Herald * 'A remarkable, sly blend of memoir and history, past and present, amusement and bemusement. How the memoir of a Dutch writer selling bibles in Russia also becomes the story of our past century is beyond me. But in Waterdrinker's masterful hands, it does. The Long Song of Tchaikovsky Street is a spectacular tale, and a towering achievement.' -- Shalom Auslander, author of Mother for Dinner 'Russia's recent history has been inspirational and unpredictable, tragic and bizarre, and it takes a quirky literary autobiography like this to capture that. From showing the Russian president's wife through Amsterdam's red-light district to wheeling and dealing in the dying days of the USSR, Waterdrinker offers up an eminently readable and critically affectionate vision of a Russia constantly in the throes of reinvention.' -- Professor Mark Galeotti, author of A Short History of Russia 'An evocative personal history of smuggling and surviving.' * Foyles * 'I really enjoyed it ... it spoke to my own experiences.' -- Mark Galeotti * The Spectator TV * 'Peter Waterdrinker's experiences of Russia over the past quarter century are undoubtedly worth telling ... his descriptions are evocative.' -- Owen Matthews * Catholic Herald * 'In this compelling memoir ... Waterdrinker recounts the awful and at the same time great decades that gave Russians a radically redefined role on the world stage ... An intensely personal perspective on geopolitical transformation.' -- Bryce Christensen * Booklist, starred review * '[Waterdrinker] interweaves memoir and history in this impressionistic account of Russia from the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution to the present day ... [he] incisively captures the beauty and terror of his adopted country ... Russophiles will savour this iconoclastic portrait of modern Russia.' * Publishers Weekly * 'An octogenarian aristocrat cooped up in a decrepit Soviet madhouse, doctors requiring bribes before even considering treating patients, the wife of a Russian president touring Amsterdam's red-light district, lust-driven physicists embezzling foreign aid programs, the mad monk Rasputin. These are just a handful of the memorable characters Pieter Waterdrinker draws in his idiosyncratic, darkly humorous, captivating blend of memoir, history, and reportage that spans Russia's last century. It's a terrific read that will engage and inform in equal measure.' -- Gordon Peake * The Canberra Times * 'Compelling.' * The Herald * 'Words by Waterdrinker are as amazing as a superior circus.' * Elsevier * 'How evocatively Waterdrinker can write! A hundred years after the Russian Revolution, he makes this violent period of history shine once again.' * Zin *

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