The latest addition to my website is Sergei Lebedev‘s Гусь Фриц (The Goose Fritz). We follow Kirill, a Russian living in the contemporary period, who, under the influence of his grandmother, becomes interested in his ancestors, who were of German origin. He tracks down their stories, going back to the late eighteenth century, how they coped, seen as Germans, with German names, and how they were, despite their best efforts, never quite fully Russian. Lebedev give us a highly colourful account of how they were involved in many of the key events of Russian history, from the Napoleonic Wars to the Stalinist purges and how they just about survived (though many did not, dying premature deaths, often violently). Cannibalism, the various wars, rebellions and revolutions in Russia, epidemics, insanity, and love and (lots of) death are seen though the eyes of those who want to be insiders but never manage it. It is a brilliant book and confirms Lebedev as one of the foremost contemporary Russian novelists.