Arnon Grunberg


Dull read

This article in the Herald Tribune intrigued me:

‘For weeks, the pseudonymous reviewer known only as Historian had been using the British book site as his or her personal shooting gallery, taking aim at the authors of works on Russian culture and history: Rachel Polonsky’s book “Molotov’s Magic Lantern” was dismissed as “dense,” “pretentious” and “the sort of book that makes you wonder why it was ever published”; and Robert Service’s work was skewered as a “dull read” (for a book about Trotsky) and “rubbish” and “an awful book” (for a history of communism). Perhaps the only author to be spared the point pen of Historian was Orlando Figes, whose book “The Whisperers” was described as a “beautiful and necessary” account of Soviet history, written by someone with “superb storytelling skills” and of whom Historian said, “I hope he writes forever.” Now the British academic world knows why: on Friday, Mr. Figes, a history professor at Birkbeck College in London, said in a statement released by his lawyers that Historian was his wife, Stephanie Palmer, a lawyer and lecturer at Cambridge University, The Guardian reported.’

I guess this is what we call love – or professional jealousy.
Perhaps Stephanie Palmer was just trying to right a few wrongs.