This is … real literature, pure and honest’ – Vladimir Nabokov
Deceit is the first major work by Yuri Felsen, referred to by his contemporaries as ‘the Russian Proust’, a significant writer who died in the gas chambers in Auschwitz, and whose legacy and archive was destroyed by the Nazis.
Written in the form of a diary, the novel recounts the unnamed narrator’s complex and emotionally fraught relationship with his love interest and sometime muse. While the plot itself is relatively simple, the real revelation in Felsen’s writing is its supreme originality of language and psychological introspection.
Quite unlike any other writer in the Russian canon, Felsen evokes in rich, poetic, idiosyncratic prose not only the Zeitgeist of interwar Europe and his émigré milieu, but also its psychology and the existential crisis of the age. What Nabokov achieves with images and the physical world, Felsen does with the emotional and metaphysical.
This is the first English translation of this landmark modernist novel.
‘He [Felsen] has rightly been compared to Proust in his determination to make language capture every atom of the mind’s workings… This translation is a formidable achievement.’ – Literary Review
‘Felsen’s name deserves to be conjured with, just as it was before Paris fell.’ – The Sunday Telegraph
Imprint: UK Small Publisher
Publication date: 22/06/2022