A Novel

Categories: ,
ISBN: 9781662601965


Published by (2023-02-07)

“This is … real literature, pure and honest.”
—Vladimir Nabokov
Deceit is a yet-undiscovered landmark of modernist Russian emigré literature. Once considered the "Russian Proust", Yuri Felsen tells of an obsessive love affair set in interwar Paris in Deceit, an experimental novel in the form of a diary.

    Displaced from Russia following the Bolshevik revolution, our narrator finds himself lurking around the cafés and salons of 1920s Paris. When a Berlin-based friend and fellow émigré asks him to look out for her niece, the beautiful, clever socialite, Lyolya Heard, he is hesitant, but intrigued by Lyolya and her well-established reputation. Over the course of the novel, this curiosity devolves into a lustful obsession, as the hot-and-cold Lyolya sends mixed signals while pursuing other men, none of which seem to be our narrator. In rich and introspective prose, this novel in diary form speaks as truthfully about the timeless problem of unreciprocated love as it does about the fragile reality of daily life in interwar Europe.
    Subtle and profound in its exploration of love, deceit and betrayal, Felsen’s novel is a daring and highly original work of psychological fiction. Originally published in 1930, Deceit was recently rediscovered in Russia after much of Yuri Felsen’s archive was destroyed by the Nazis. 

Book Details

Format: Hardcover
Price: 23 USD / 30 CAD
Published: 2023-02-07
ISBN: 9781662601965
Page Count: 256
Trim Size: 5 x 7

"So far, so very Proust, of whom Felsen was an acolyte. Witness his long, elastic sentences, and some of their favourite tricks, such as the centrifugal spin from a transient feeling to a pronouncement on humanity...Felsen's name deserves to be conjured with, just as it was before Paris fell."

"This translation is a formidable achievement...reading these pages as the narrator minutely examines his own judgments has a hypnotic effect. Layer after layer is stripped from the narrator's mind until we are left with the core: amor vincit omnia."
Literary Review

"For reasons that are evident from the first page, Felsen achieved with the publication of Deceit the reputation of a Russian Proust, an accolade reinforced by Karetnyk’s splendid, lucent translation."
—Hong Kong Review of Books