An intense and acutely observed depiction of self-loathing, addition and the seductive power of easy pleasure, Novel with Cocaine is the fictional memoir of a young Russian during the period immediately before and after the 1917 Revolution. The protagonist, Vadim Maslennikov, is a youth whose failed attempt to escape his humble origins for a life of wealth and grace precedes his descent into narcotic hell. Widely acknowledged to be a study of addiction on a par with De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater, Novel with Cocaine is possessed of a rare degree of psychological acuity and an almost Proustian lucidity.
'When he comes to take cocaine, every detail... is rendered with a cool and edgy clarity... The ups and downs, the exhilaration and despair, and the brutal plunge into abject addiction follow in masterly fashion... Slavic mysticism here shows a sinister anarchic face.'
John Updike, New Yorker