Gaito Gazdanov's Paris / 48 (About <em>Night Roads</em>)
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Cover of French translation of "Night Roads" by Elena
Balzamo (Paris: Éditions Viviane Hamy, 1991).

Éditions Viviane Hamy:
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Gaito Gazdanov's Paris / 48

About Night Roads

Gazdanov’s novel Nochnye dorogi (Night Roads) draws heavily on his life as a taxi driver. Originally titled Nochnaia doroga (Night Road) it was serialized in the emigre journal Sovremennye zapiski in 1939-1940. It did not appear as a book until 1952.

The narrator of Night Roads is an unnamed taxi driver who shares much the same background as his creator – military service on a White Russian armoured train during the civil war, stevedoring, factory work, locomotive washing and studies at the Sorbonne. He is possibly a writer – we are never told for sure – but he is certainly an intellectual.

Taxi driving allows him to live in frugal comfort in the midst of the Depression and his room, with its desk and couch, is a secure sanctuary from the outside world. There’s a picture of his girlfriend on the wall but we never meet her except in oblique references and the taxi driver’s love life is as much a mystery as his intellectual pursuits.

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