BOOKS: Soggy Saga

A Russian's novel is a bad imitation of a Russian novel

Before he left the Soviet Union for the U.S. in 1980, Vassily Aksyonov was part of a restless generation of writers chafing at centuries of censorship and inspired by the irreverent styles of the West. The Burn, a novel written in the early '70s and first published in the U.S. after the author's arrival, is his best-known satirical howl against Soviet oppression and conformity. Aksyonov has published other books in exile, but now, after a decade of personal and artistic freedom, he has written one for the American market. Generations of Winter (Random House; 592 pages; $25) will probably draw comparisons...

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