The Big Issue – Nick Taussig, Five Crime Novels Everyone Should Read Before They Die

“A dazzling study of mental anguish and moral dilemma” Author Nick Taussig picks his essential crime fiction reads… The Big Issue, 7 August 2013   1. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky Following the nihilistic student Raskolnikov, this is a dazzling study of mental anguish and moral dilemma. 2. The Godfather, Mario Puzo We’ve all seen […]

Independent – Five-minute memoir: Nick Taussig recalls a particularly trying trip across Russia

‘Mother Russia’ had long intrigued the author, but a journey across the country almost changed his mind… The Independent, 3 August 2013 A lifelong student of Russian literature – no one wrestles with the shadow self quite like a Russian novelist – it was perhaps inevitable that I would write a novel profoundly Russian in […]

Marcel Berlins reviews The Distinguished Assassin in The Times

“The Distinguished Assassin is Professor Aleksei Klebnikov, banished to a Gulag labour camp in 1949 on trumped-up charges. Set free in 1952, he becomes a hitman for a gangster, assigned to murder six brutal, highly placed Communist officials. Klebnikov’s ultimate aim is to kill the man responsible for his captivity and who, he believes, seduced his […]

Putin, a modern day Stalin

Masha Gessen, the Russian journalist, wrote a very important book last year, published by Granta in the UK. The Man Without a Face is a devastating portrait of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, a man who, when he took power of Russia in 2000, swiftly dismantled the young mechanisms of democracy put in place by his drunken predecessor Yeltsin […]

Why I wrote The Distinguished Assassin

As a postgraduate student of Russian literature at the University College London School of Slavonic and East European Studies in 1995, I will never forget my first encounter with Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, a staggering work that powerfully, and methodically, documents the vast network of forced labour camps that existed throughout the former Soviet Union. What […]

Nikita Mikhalkov’s Burnt by the Sun

Slovo, Vol. 9, No.1, 1996 Mikhalkov’s tale of life in the Russian countryside in the mid-1930s is an apparently idyllic one. A man and a woman deeply in love, a child they adore, and a family they cherish. The characters sing and dance in a beautiful and harmonious setting. But the destructive glare of Stalin […]

The Distinguished Assassin, First Extract

1st April ‘49 First, they frisk him down, then they start to go through his apartment, this shoddy home of Aleksei Nikolayevich Klebnikov, with its cracked plaster, which criss-crosses the walls; its peeling wallpaper, which droops from the ceiling; its old pipes, which cough and splutter; its wood furniture, which barely holds together; its paintings, […]