In Concert Performance
Authors: Dezhnev, Nikolai
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Synopsis: In Concert Performance has earned Nikolai Dezhnev praise and international success that is unrivaled by any other contemporary Russian writer. A bestseller in Russia, it brings us, with wit and insight, into Russia's distressful past and perhaps equally distressful present, while telling a brilliant love story that surpasses time and space.
Lukary is a fallen angel sent back to earth to atone for his past. In the form of a domovoi, a good domestic spirit of Russian folklore, he is sent to inhabit the apartment of an old Bolshevik woman, who dies almost immediately. At the old woman's funeral, in the disguise of a dashing middle-aged gentleman, he encounters her niece, Anna, and falls madly in love with her, interrupting the successful course of his penance. Forced to choose between his journey to higher lucidity and earthly love, he chooses the latter.
Fortunately for Lukary, Anna and her husband--a conceited, no-nonsense Russian physicist--move into the deceased aunt's former home, where Lukary proceeds to wreak supernatural havoc upon their daily lives in his effort to simultaneously woo Anna and badger her into ending her marriage. Unfortunately for Lukary, a demon sent to watch over him on earth has begun to conspire against him with Anna's husband. And soon the havoc spreads far beyond the confines of a simple Moscow apartment.
In Concert Performance travels from contemporary Moscow to the times of the Spanish Inquisition and back again, hitting more than a few points in between. It is a fantastic tale, a truly unique novel that is part romantic fantasy, part meditation on love and time, and part historical satire, echoing the mixture of genres and stylistic sophistication of its only worthy comparison, Mikhail Bulgakov's masterpiece The Master and Margarita.