The Commissariat of Enlightenment It's 1910 in Russia, Leo Tolstoy is dying in the remote town of Astapovo, and the modern media apparatus is waiting to be born. In… The Commissariat of Enlightenment It's 1910 in Russia, Leo Tolstoy is dying in the remote town of Astapovo, and the modern media apparatus is waiting to be born. In… Fiction Ecco Press
Book Review

THE COMMISSARIAT OF ENLIGHTENMENT (2014)

EW's GRADE
B

Details Writer: Ken Kalfus; Genre: Fiction; Publisher: Ecco Press

It's 1910 in Russia, Leo Tolstoy is dying in the remote town of Astapovo, and the modern media apparatus is waiting to be born. In chronicling the novelist's death, young cinematographer Nikolai Gribshin discovers elation in both the tricks of his trade and his presence at the center of history. (His creator, an acclaimed short-story writer, also gets carried away by the sweep of the events, sometimes to jarring effect. One comrade to another on young Stalin: ''He's the most reckless, untrustworthy, impudent revolutionist that there ever was!'') While Nikolai seems to evolve into one Comrade Astapov, a bureaucrat charged with ''conquering the Russian imagination,'' his cool appraisals of propagandistic intrigue remain dry and precise.

Originally posted Feb 14, 2003 Published in issue #695 Feb 14, 2003 Order article reprints
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