Moscow, March 1953- As Stalin breathes his last, four women meet in Room 408 of the luxurious hotel Metropol. They have gathered to reminisce about the great poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, whose work they once inspired. Following his mysterious suicide twenty-five years earlier, he was canonised by Stalin as the most talented poet of our Soviet era but in life he was a far more complicated man, violently torn between art and politics. As the four muses who both loved and loathed him piece together their conflicting memories of the poet, a portrait of the artist as a tormented young idealist emerges. Recalling Mayakovsky 's early years as a leader of the Futurists, his later work as a propagandist for the Soviet state, and the censorship battles that pitted him against the government, their unabashedly frank conversation reveals him as as an intense and tormented sexual obsessive caught in the eye of history 's storm, struggling to hold on to his ideals in the face of a revolution betrayed. Vladimir M. tells a subversive, passionate story of free love, avant-garde art and political ideals, in an explosive, provocative cocktail of fiction and reality which brings to life the tumultuous Stalinist era and the disaster it spelt for the artists it ensnared.
Bestselling author Robert Littell brilliantly portrays the life and times of the Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky in a gripping new novel
`A vivid portrait ... rich in dark imagery and razor-sharp dialogue' * Kirkus * `A complex but rewarding novel' * Publishers Weekly * A ribald, gossipy novel' * Wall Street Journal * `Ambitious and tumultuous... Robert Littell signs a homage that is vibrant and sensual, where creative excesses existed alongside human genius' * Lundi Library (France) *