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Daniel Akst

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Rostock or Bust

Art by Peter Bennett I am no stranger to tough audiences, being one myself, but you don’t know tough until you’ve tried reading portions of a comic novel in English to a roomful of stony-faced East Germans. Looking out at my unsmiling listeners as I was about to begin, I......
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Child's Play

Tour de force was the phrase that kept popping up in my head as I wandered wide-eyed through The Everlasting Story of Nory, an extraordinary new novel in which Nicholson Baker blithely immerses us in the consciousness of the world's most charming 9-year-old. Tour de force, I kept thinking, turning......
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Moscow on the Rhine

St. Petersburg has a lot of history with Germany. In 1914, with Russia soon to suffer defeat in World War I, the Russian capital was renamed Petrograd because St. Petersburg sounded too German. Ten years later, when the father of the Soviet Union died, it became Leningrad in his honor,......