A wild, erotic novel—a bold debut—from the much-admired, award-winning poet, writer of Flying Inland, A background of craving,
and With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz, and Others
. a wierd, haunting novel approximately survival and love in all its varieties; approximately sexual awakenings and darkish secrets and techniques; approximately ecu refugee intellectuals who've fled Hitler’s armies with their desires intact and who've come to an elusive new (American) “can do, will do” global they can not appear to locate. a singular steeped in surreal storytelling and gorgeous track that transports its half-broken souls—and us—to one other realm of the senses.
The surroundings: the early Forties, New York—city of shelter, urban of wish, with the threat of a red-hot Europe at war.
At the novel’s center: Anna (known because the Rat), an unique Hungarian countess with the face of an angel, appealing eyes, and a seraphic smile, with a passionate intelligence, an attractive ugliness, and the facility to enchant . . . Her moment cousin Herbert, a former minor Austrian civil servant who believes in Esperanto and the foreign rights of guy, wheeling and working in manhattan, robust within the social sphere but less than the thumb of his spouse, Adeline . . . Michael, their lacking gay son . . . Felix, a German pediatrician who dabbles in genetic engineering, practising from his top East part place of work along with his little dachshund, Schatzie, by way of his part . . . The Tolstoi String Quartet, 4 males and their tools, who for 20 years lived as one, enjoying the good live performance halls of Europe, escaping to big apple with their cash sewn into the silk linings in their device circumstances . . .
And gazing all of them: Herbert’s eight-year-old granddaughter, Maria, who is aware from the furtive worry of her mom, and the huddled penury in their lives, and the experience of being in hiding, even in ny, that lifestyles is a try of braveness and silence, Maria witnessing the family’s unusual comings and goings, being regaled at evening, whilst such a lot are asleep, with the intoxicating, exciting tales in their mystery pasts . . . of lives lived in Saint Petersburg . . . of husbands being despatched to front and massive, harmful money owed owed to the Tsar of imperial Russia, of late-night visits through trainer to the palace of the Romanovs to beg for mercy and stay away from execution . . . and on the middle of the tales, instructed throughout the lengthy nights with out sunrise in sight, the unusual, electrifying story of a pact made in desperation with the non-public adviser to the Tsar and Tsarina—the mystic religion healer Grigory Rasputin (Russian for “debauched one”), a pact of “companionship” among Anna (the Rat) and the scheming Siberian peasant–turned–holy guy, referred to as the satan via a few, the self-proclaimed “only precise Christ,” assembly evening after evening in Rasputin’s flats, and the spellbinding, unspeakable issues performed there within the identify of penance and enjoyment . . .
From the Hardcover edition.