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Dinner with the Dissidents

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Dinner with the Dissidents

by John Tesarsch

It is 1970, and the Kremlin is struggling to quell dissent. Though censored at home, Alexander Solzhenitsyn is lauded in the West for exposing the underbelly of communism. Now the Nobel laureate is rumoured to be writing his most devastating work yet.

The KGB turns to Leonid Krasnov, an aspiring young writer. It promises to make him Moscow’s next literary star if he can infiltrate Solzhenitsyn’s inner circle and uncover what the great author is hiding. At first Leonid complies, but when he falls in love with Klara, a dissident musician, his allegiances waver. By then he is enmeshed in a plot that is more sinister than he could ever have imagined.

Many years later, Leonid is a recluse living in Canberra under an assumed name. Haunted by his past, he seeks one last, desperate chance to make amends.

Dinner with the Dissidents is a gripping portrayal of tumultuous times, and a thrilling story of love, courage and deception.


‘A fierce work, worthy of the great Russians who fill its pages.’ JOCK SERONG

‘A multilayered and gripping novel. Tesarsch sheds light on one of Russia’s bravest and most brilliant of writers as well as on Australia’s uneasy present. I couldn’t put this book down.’ LEE KOFMAN

‘A lively, charming and confident evocation of communist Russia and Australia, and a portrait of a particular writing life, meticulously composed and masterfully told.’ ALICE ROBINSON

‘A smartly turned historical spy mystery that recreates an atmosphere of paranoia, repression and resistance. [Tesarsch] is an elegant writer with a gift for metaphor.’ CAMERON WOODHEAD, THE AGE

‘The dinner in John Tesarsch’s novel is amazing. Not because of the food… but because of the diners themselves… Tesarsch is too intelligent a writer to spell out comparisons. Instead he gives us a two-part story full of twists and turns, personal dilemmas and political pressures, backed up by insightful characterisation and the kind of detail that works on the imagination, emotions and ethical sense of his readers. It is up to them to meditate on where the brave new world of Leonid’s adopted country is heading.’   The Australian       

‘A remarkable, layered piece of historical fiction. Impeccably researched, the book transports you to a different time and place, painting an intimate and authentic picture of life and politics in 1970’s Russia. This book achieves what all great historical fiction sets out to do – enlighten and entertain. It does both, royally.’ Better Reading

About the Author

28 August 2018
RRP: $29.99
ISBN: 9781925584851
234 x 153 mm

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