a Novel of the Roaring Twenties in China
by Elvira Baryakina
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Some call the city the ‘Splendor of the East’; others the ‘Whore of Asia’. A melting pot of different nations, fused by war and commerce, this is the Shanghai of the 1920s.
The Great Powers are greedily exploiting China for its cheap labor and reaping the cruel rewards of the booming opium trade. When a flotilla of ships carries the remnants of the defeated White Army on entry to Shanghai, the fragile balance of this international marketplace comes under threat.
Among the refugees is Klim Rogov, an émigré journalist whose life and marriage have been claimed by the Russian Revolution. All he has left are his quick wits and keen worldliness that come in quite handy in navigating the lawless jungle of Shanghai. He finds work as a reporter at a British-run newspaper, rubbing shoulders with international gangsters while defying webbed intrigues of sinister communist agents. Amidst the survival frenzy all that keeps him going is the hope that someday he’ll be reunited with his beloved wife Nina.
This complete English translation of Elvira Baryakina’s White Shanghai emulates the greatest traditions of the Russian classics. Baryakina’s years of research in libraries and archives around the world have resulted in a rare kind of literature which blends a multinational cast of exotic characters against the backdrop of the 1920s’ turbulence and fervor and sends readers on a breathless journey of passion, political games and crime.
The novel is translated from the Russian by Anna Muzychka and Benjamin Kuttner.
World Wars and Revolutions Series
White Shanghai is a part of the World Wars and Revolutions Series devoted to some of the most significant events of the 20th centaury.
Other novels in the series:
A Novel of the Russian Revolution
Klim Rogov arrived to high and mighty Buenos Aires without a penny in his pocket and not speaking a word of Spanish. However, he managed to become a brilliant journalist—the public favorite. He would spend his days in the restive editorial office and in the evenings, he would dance tango on sunlit sidewalks. In May 1917, he received a telegram: his father past away and left him an inheritance in Klim’s native city of Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia.
For the ten years Klim was in Argentina, he didn’t pay much attention to the happenings in the Northern hemisphere. When he finally came back to Russia, he couldn’t recognize it—the country was entangled in war and had opened itself to villains with the strange name—Bolsheviks. Klim wanted to return to Argentina as soon as possible, but how could he leave without Nina Odintsova? A woman who brought so much confusion and excitement to his heart? Klim stayed with her, despite the imminent Deluge of revolution, with neither an ark built, nor God on his side.
Status: the novel is published in Russian by Ripol Classic Publishing House, Moscow.
THE PRINCE OF THE SOVIETS
A Novel About a Foreign Journalist
in Stalin's Russia
In 1927, Russian emigrant Klim Rogov made an incognito visit to the USSR to find his vanished wife Nina. He passed himself off as an American journalist and got a position of the United Press reporter in Moscow.
But despite what Klim believed, Nina didn’t need him to save her from the bloodthirsty Cheka. She married one of the Red Capitalists, a strange person who possessed a talent to deal with the communists and derive millions from this.
Klim tried to earn himself surrogate happiness, working and covering in the Western press Stalin’s ascend to power. As he watched show trials and persecution of the former Russian aristocracy, he started to realize that there was another, secret revolution unfolding in front of his eyes. And this one will have even worse consequences for the country and the world than the one that had happened in 1917.
As for Nina, she was just a pawn in a big political game, but Klim figured it out only when they both were on the verge of disaster.
Status: Work in progress. The novel will be finished in 2013.