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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Friday, September 28, 2007 2:13 pm
And Yet Their Disagreements Are Somewhat Arcane
Posted by: Keir Graff

It’s a fact that authors are not always treated as royalty by their publishers. And yet rarely do you see a case like this, where the publisher binds a takedown letter into the book. (“After 50 Years, Passions Persist Over the Publication of ‘Doctor Zhivago’,” by Peter Finn, Washington Post):

MOSCOW — When Sergio D’Angelo arrived in Moscow this month to promote his new book — “The Pasternak Case: Memoirs of a Witness” — the sprightly 85-year-old Italian was immediately greeted with his first bad review.

“This is a disgraceful farce which follows the tragedy of the poet who has given away to everybody the wealth of his soul,” thundered Yevgeny Pasternak, the 84-year-old son of Boris Pasternak, author of “Doctor Zhivago.”

Pasternak’s broadside was not published in any book review, however. To the consternation of a blindsided D’Angelo, it appeared as a dense 20-page epilogue inside the covers of the Russian edition of his memoir.

(Thanks, Dad!)

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