After Martin Amis, the renowned but polarizing English writer, tackled the issue of Stalinism and its moral legacy in his non-fiction work Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million, it was only a matter of time before the same historical and emotional terrain was trod in novelistic form. This has happened in House of Meetings, in which depictions of the personal and political consequences of the Gulag slave archipelago combine to form a work of unsettling moral power. House of Meetings is at its core the story of a love triangle (an “isosceles,” Amis tells us, “it certainly comes to a sharp point”) involving two brothers and a Jewish girl in a post-WWII Moscow on the verge of a pogrom. But Amis’s latest offering is also a profoundly political work, concerned with the impact of Communism on today’s Russia, both on the level of the individual and the state. As such, Amis is a worthy heir of a long tradition of Western eyes trained on Russia.p>Russia has always had the power to alternately enthrall and terrify outside observers. As far back as 1588, Giles Fletcher, one of the first English envoys to Moscow, reported back to London on the “baffling, beautiful, and bizarre” country and remarked on the unparalleled autocratic nature of the tsarist regime. In 1843, the French Marquis de Custine’s Letters from Russia told of a nation br> /p>
where there is no freedom, there is no soul and no truth. Russia is a lifeless corpse, a colossus surviving in its head while all its limbs, equally deprived of strength, wither and perish….Russia is a tightly sealed boiler on a mounting fire: I fear an explosion.br> The novelist Joseph Conrad, born in Polish Russia, explored similar themes in his novel
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online