Fyodor Konstantinovich Godunov-Cherdyntsev
Fyodor Konstantinovich Godunov-Cherdyntsev (FYOH-dohr kohn-stahn-TIH-noh-vihch GOH-dew-nov-chehr-DIHN-tsehv), a young Russian émigré writer who lives in Berlin. As the novel begins, Fyodor recently has published his first volume of poetry, a collection of works about childhood. The collection contains several gems of precise description but is destined never to receive the approval of a broad general audience. Over the course of the novel, Fyodor probes the possibility of using a variety of topics as the subject of a new written work: the suicide of Yasha Chernyshevski, the adolescent son of Fyodor’s friends, Alexander and Alexandra Chernyshevski; the life and disappearance of his own father, the famous Russian explorer and naturalist Konstantin Godunov-Cherdyntsev; and the life and public image of Nikolay Chernyshevski, a famous nineteenth century critic. During this time, Fyodor meets Zina Mertz and falls in love with her. The novel concludes after the publication of Fyodor’s controversial treatise on Nikolay Chernyshevski, a work that exposes the enormous fallacies in the critic’s theories on art but that also depicts the man as eminently human. Despite the generally unfavorable reviews his work receives, Fyodor is pleased, and as the novel ends, he looks forward to spending...
(The entire section is 484 words.)