Yuri Felsen: Обман (Deceit)

The latest addition to my website is Yuri Felsen‘s Обман (Deceit). This novel was first published in 1930 and is one of three surviving novels by Felsen, others being lost after he was sent to Auschwitz and murdered, and the first to appear in English. It is written in the form of a diary by a Russian exile in Paris who is a businessman rather than a writer (apart from the diary). He is receiving the niece of an old friend (herself divorced) and, even without meeting her, is convinced she is the one. She is not, at least as far as she is concerned. Two desultory affairs with two other Russian women are messy and unpleasant. However, the real interest in the book is that our narrator examines himself psychologically and it is not all together a pretty sight. He sees himself as a victim, cannot understand why people do not see things his way and ends ups saying It is impossible to live without deceit. It is an excellent read though not as some have said particularly Proustian.

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