ISBN 10: 1501277537 / ISBN 13: 9781501277535
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Nocturnal Butterflies of the Russian Empire was acclaimed by The Hartford Courant as "a thrilling discovery...a reversal of the letters [of] Saul Bellow's Herzog...[with] a Nabokovian delight in words and texts."

J. is a smuggler living in Russia, making his living fencing the flotsam of communism's collapse. In Istanbul he takes a commission to trap an endangered Russian butterfly and decides to use it as an opportunity to smuggle V., his Russian lover who has no papers, back into her homeland. In the port of Odessa, she disappears, and J. continues alone to a small village on the Black Sea. Letters from V. begin to arrive, and as J. hunts the butterfly, he seeks a way to lure V. back into his life. Equal parts bittersweet love story, international intrigue, and one man's quest to write the perfect love letter, Nocturnal Butterflies of the Russian Empire, wrote The Tennessean, is "an amazing jewel of a story...that winks with wit [and] wears its astonishing craftsmanship lightly."

"An aesthetically blissful reading experience.... Nabokov's spirit, alive and kind, has touched [Prieto] with its butterfly wings." —Aleksandar Hemon, The Village Voice Literary Supplement

"...Nocturnal Butterflies is an impressive performance by a writer whose gifts are clearly abundant." —Richard Bernstein, The New York Times

"A beautiful, lavish, seedy, poetic, and magical book.... Pure pleasure for the literary mind." —Chris Kridler, The Baltimore Sun

From the Inside Flap: Jose Manuel Prieto is one of the most exciting new talents in Latin America, combining the intellectual sophistication and luminous prose of Nabokov with the worldview of a scion of Castro's Cuba and post-communist Russia. Nocturnal Butterflies of the Russian Empire is a novel of immense power and originality.

J. is a smuggler living on the fringes between Eastern and Western Europe, making his living fencing the flotsam of communism's collapse. He has taken a commission to illegally trap a rare Russian butterfly, and decides to use it as an opportunity to smuggle V., his Russian lover who has no papers, back into her homeland. Just over the border in the port of Odessa, she deserts him, so J. continues alone to their original destination, a small village on the Black Sea. Then she begins to send him letters, and he waits, searching for the answer that will lure the butterfly into his net and V. back into his life.

Equal parts bittersweet love story, international intrigue, and one man's quest to write the perfect love letter, Nocturnal Butterflies of the Russian Empire is sure to establish Jose Manuel Prieto as a writer of international stature.

"Inside and outside of Cuba, Jose Manuel Prieto is already regarded as the most exciting and original talent of his generation. His novels blend playful literary erudition and 'street' worldliness in a new and dazzling way. Nocturnal Butterflies of the Russian Empire offers the most hilariously wounded and obsessive narrator since Pale Fire's Charles Kinbote, along with an unforgettable depiction of cultural and historical dislocation, disintegration, and nostalgia."--Francisco Goldman

"A story of love and self-knowledge graced with the psychological power which is the imprimatur of Russian literature, lightened by a certain Caribbean freshness.... Intrigue, seduction, love, intensity, mathematical precision and devotion to detail, as well as an abundance of surreal science and high culture which manages never to be excessive.... A cutting-edge work touched by the magic of great literature."--Gabi Martínez, La Vanguardia (Barcelona)

"Traversing the forms--among others--of the adventure novel, the travel book, the philosophic essay, the love letter, the moral epistle, the confession, the parable, Jose Manuel Prieto has written a book of a most original texture...set amid direct reportage of a crumbling empire."--Ignacio Echevarría, El País (Madrid)

Jose Manuel Prieto was born in Havana in 1962. In 1986 he graduated with a degree in engineering in Novosibirisk, the capital of western Siberia. He remained in the Soviet Union for twelve years, where he translated the works of Joseph Brodsky and Anna Akhmatova into Spanish, was an engineer in a Siberian telephone plant, and worked in the import-export field. He is also the author of the novel The Encyclopedia of Living in Russia and a short-story collection. Nocturnal Butterflies of the Russian Empire is his first book to be published in English. Currently he lives in Mexico City with his wife, Yelena, and daughter, Alicia, where he is a professor of Russian history at the Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas.

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