The novel is set in Moscow in the late 1960's, at a time when Khrushchev-era liberalization is being threatened by the return to personality cult and repression following the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia.
Yuri Druzhnikov is the author of a number of works of fiction and non-fiction, including the Alexandre Pushkin psychobiography Prisoner of Russia. The satirical novel Angels on the Head of a Pin sold a quarter of a million copies in its first edition and has been named one of the ten best Russian novels of the twentieth century by the University of Warsaw and the best contemporary novel in translation by UNESCO.
In 2001 Yuri Druzhnikov was put forward by Poland as a candidate for the Novel Prize. Blacklisted in his homeland for fifteen years, he emigrated to the United States in 1987 and now teaches at the University of California at Davis.
"Reputation, founded on serious and satirical writings, recommends him both as a talented writer and courageous humanist." Bernard Malamud.
"A very important book, without which it is difficult to imagine contemporary literature, a book that has entered the canon of texts describing the epoch of totalitarianism." Professor Lucjan Suchanek, Jagellonian University, Poland.