This is a satirical/historical novel of the life of a fictional Soviet era artist, Vladimir Daniilovich Myukis who was orphaned during the Second World War. By the early 1950s, Myukis now in a street gang of war orphans was arrested by the police for vandalism. The vandalism consisted of drawing large pictures of elephants on the bombed out buildings in hisw native city of Novogrudok in what is now Belarus. The arresting officers realized that Myukis had real art ability so they sent him to art school. From there he was recruited into the KGB where he forged signatures for their agents. He also created art for the Promotional Division of Art Department of GAZ Volga, a huge auto factory that assembled Volga automobiles in the city of Gorkii, now renamed Nizhni Novgorod. Several years later, Myukis was kicked out of Art Department of the Promotional Division and sent to the secret KGB facility located within the factory where he did pretty much the same thing as before but now for the Minister of Propaganda. From there he was let go when that secret KGB facility closed. Myukis, referred to as Volodya in the book, (the nickname for Vladimir), then found employment in the Leningrad GUM department store and remained there until his retirement. Shortly thereafter, the Soviet Union collapsed as did the Russian pension system. The loss of his pension resulted in Myukis immigrating to the United States where he eventually found work as the counter man at a delicatessen on the Coney Island boardwalk.

In this book, Myukis encounters various characters both in the USSR and the USA. His closest confident in the US was a former KGB translator named Arcady S. Nyekrassov (Archie) who also worked in Gorkii. There are other numerous characters who were people he encountered in the USSR and later in the United States.

The format of the narrative is non-linear. The novel opens with Myukis living in Brooklyn, New York and then goes back in time to his early days within the GAZ Volga/KGB. From there the narrative progresses back to the day after the opening chapter.

The satire in the book is of various artists and institutions within the USSR and the US.

The book has about 25 illustrations in it. I did all the art work except for the reproduction of Joshua Reynolds self portrait, a 1920s Soviet era political poster, and an illustration done by my wife, Cathy A. Morris. There is also some Russian in Cyrillic script which I have translated, often in a foot note.
Published: Xlibris on
ISBN: 9781479721542
List price: $3.99
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