Books: Red-Hot Children of the Arbat

by Anatoli Rybakov Translated by Harold Shukman Little, Brown; 685 pages; $19.95

The word from Moscow is that Anatoli Rybakov's Children of the Arbat is selling like blini on May Day. An initial printing of 500,000 copies sold out faster than the lines could form at the bookshops. As this classic supply-and- demand problem mocked Marxist economics, the cost of the novel rose from the official price of 2.5 rubles ($4.20) to an extortionist 25 rubles on the black market. Plans at Sovietsky Pisatel and Moskovsky Rabochy, the popular author's two publishers, call for at least 2.4 million additional hardbacks in Russian, plus editions in Ukrainian, Armenian, Lithuanian, Estonian and Latvian.

This blockbuster...

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