Smith, Martin Cruz: Gorky Park
(researched by Jessica Collins)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Smith, Martin Cruz. Gorky Park. New York, New York: Random House Incorporated, 1981. Copyright 1981 by Martin Cruz Smith Copyright 1981 by Random House Parallel First Editions: In Canada: Smith, Martin Cruz. Gorky Park. Toronto: Random House of Canada Limited, 1981. In England: Smith, Martin Cruz. Gorky Park. London: Collins, 1981. (sources: RLIN, InfoTrac on GaleNet, WorldCat, Library of Congress Online Catalog, BookFinder.com, Bibliofind, Advanced Book Exchange, Random House Online)
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The first American edition is published in trade cloth binding. (source: InfoTrac on GaleNet)
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
194 leaves, pp. [14] [1-3] 4-27 [28] 29-44 [45] 46-52 [53] 54-65 [66] 67-74 [75] 76-82 [83] 84-98 [99] 100-119 [120] 121-127 [128] 129-144 [145] 146-159 [160] 161-187 [188] 189-207 [208] 209-219 [220] 221-233 [234] 235-249 [250] 251-260 [261-263] 264-271 [272] 273-287 [288] 289 [290-293] 294-297 [298] 299-309 [310] 311-348 [349] 350-365 [9] The book is separated into three parts or sections: Moscow, Shatura, and New York. Page numbers are at the top outside corner of each page, with the name of the section and a small symbol beside them. Chapter pages, the first sixteen pages, and the last nine pages are unnumbered, as well as the pages with the names of the sections on them.
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
This book is not edited or introduced. On the inside front of the dust jacket and continuing onto the inside of the back is an advertisement for the book and the author which summarizes the story and praises Smithís writing abilities. On the second unnumbered page after the story ends are a few sentences about the author, and on the sixth unnumbered page from the beginning there is a listing of other books written by Smith. On the eleventh unnumbered page there are acknowledgements by the author, and on the thirteenth there is a dedication: ìFor Em.î Also, on the back inside cover of the dust jacket is a picture of the author with some biographical information underneath.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
On the 8th and 9th unnumbered facing pages from the beginning, there is a drawing of a map of the section of Moscow where Gorky Park is located. It is done in black and gray, and on the left page (8th), in the bottom left-hand corner is written: ìmap by palacios.î Also on the 8th page, underneath the map is the authorís name and then the publisherís name and logo, and on the 9th page is the title of the book with five thin black parallel lines above and below it.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
Size of page: 233mm x 151mm Size of text: 188mm x 114mm About 1 inch margin around text. Size of type: 90R Type style: serif Very readable, nice spacing, and quite pleasing overall. The text is clearly visible with no wear, smudging, or cracking. The illustration of the map is well done and spreads across two pages with the names of places, streets, etc. handwritten in a nice readable style. When the title appears, it is always in bold, capital letters, often with lines underneath it, as do the names of each of the sections. The chapters are numbered (1,2,3,etc.), and they do not have titles; as each new section begins, the chapter numbers start over. The first few words in each chapter are in capital letters and spaced out more so than the other words. There is no information in the book about the type used. (source: Gaskell, A New Introduction to Bibliography, 1972)
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The paper is quite thick with a slightly rough texture, and itís of a good quality. Itís color is a creamy, almost yellowish color, but it doesnít look as if it has aged very much, and there is not any evidence of wear, except on the unnumbered pages 5-8, where there are some irregular grooves or wrinkles. The bottom and top outside edges of the paper are slightly rougher than the middle section. The stock is the same throughout. There are no stains, tears, or foxing, and the paper is wove. (source: E.J. Labarreís Dictionary and Encyclopaedia of Paper and Paper-Making. 2nd ed. 1959. Supplement 1969.)
11 Description of binding(s)
Front and back of cover: the spine and parts of front and back are in a black or dark navy blue cloth with a calico-texture grain, not embossed. The rest of the cover on front and back is in a cream-colored, very natural looking paper (with what looks like tiny pieces of string scattered throughout). On the front cover, in the middle and slightly to the left, is a stamping of the authorís initials ìMCSî in a brilliant red; the letters are all capitals with three thin parallel lines underneath them. On the spine, the authorís name, the title, and the publisherís name and logo are stamped in a vivid, metallic silver color. The dust jacket is a cream color, with an illustration of a black fur cap with some leaves (orange, yellow, and red) and branches scattered around. Below the leaves and hat is a spattering of bright red blood. The title is bold, in capital letters, and the same color as the blood. At the bottom of the front cover is written in thin black letters ìA NOVELî and then there is a thin red line below this; below the red line is written, ìMARTIN CRUZ SMITHî in bold black letters. On the spine the title is again written in bold, red capital letters, with the authorís name in bold black, and then the publisherís name and logo are below in thinner black type. On the back of the jacket are quotes promoting the book from three people: P.D. James, Peter Mathiessen, and Harrison Salisbury. Also, the price of the book is listed on the inside front cover of the dust jacket, at the top. Transcription of spine: MARTIN/CRUZ/SMITH /GORKY PARK /[publisherís logo]/Random/House Front: MCS/[rule 0.5 inches] Jacket front: GORKY/PARK/A NOVEL/[rule 5 inches]/MARTIN CRUZ SMITH Spine: GORKY PARK/MARTIN/CRUZ/SMITH/Random House (source: Gaskell, A New Introduction to Bibliography, 1972)
12 Transcription of title page
Recto: (left page) MARTIN CRUZ SMITH/Random House/[publisherís logo]/New York (right page) [rule 3.5 inches]/GORKY/PARK/[rule 3.5 inches] Verso: Copyright © 1981 by Martin Cruz Smith/All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions./Published in the United States by Random House, Inc., New York, and/simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. (source: Gaskell, A New Introduction to Bibliography, 1972)
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
N/A
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
On the back inside cover of the book there is a small piece of paper that has been glued onto the binding, which reads, ìPURCHASED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA FOR THE CLIFTON WALLER BARRETT LIBRARY.î These words are written in black type, and the call number of the book is written below them in pencil. On the last page in the top left hand corner is a scribbling in pencil with the words ìNewcomb 20î written clearly, while the rest of the words are indistinguishable. On the inside back cover of the dust jacket at the bottom (in a black bold type) are the publisherís name, address, and some publishing and copyright information.
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
1. Before the First Edition was released in hardback to the public, 1500 copies of a ìSpecial Readers Editionî were printed in 1980 for salesmen and booksellers by Random House. It is 415 pages, 23 cm, and reads ìUncorrected proofî on the cover. From the descriptions Iíve gathered, it is a soft cover book, and itís either in a glossy red printed wrap, a clear plastic archival cover, or a white paper wrap. Random House did not issue the book in any other editions besides this early proof. However, Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, has issued several other editions including the mass market paperback (See number 5). Collins Publishing in London, the original publisher in England, has also issued another edition of Gorky Park in association with Pan Books (See number 5). (sources: Barnes and Noble Online, New York Times Book Review, WorldCat, Eureka, InfoTrac, Amazon.com, Random House Online, Powellís Books Online, Whitakerís Books Online, The Directory of American Book Publishing by Kurian, Bestseller Index: All Books, Publishers Weekly and the New York Times Through 1990 by Justice, Publishers Weekly, History of Book Publishing in the United States, Contemporary Authors Online, Biography Index, Book Review Digest, Book Review Index, Bibliofind Online)
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
First printing: 100,000 copies Second printing: 25,000 copies Third printing: 50,000 copies Sixth printing: 20,000 copies for an in-print total of 250,000 Seventh and Eighth printings: 35,000 total copies There was no other information available about any other printings after the eighth in 1981. (sources: Bibliofind Online, Publishers Weekly, Contemporary Authors Online, New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, Book Review Index))
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
Editions from other publishers: G.K. Hall: 1981, 639 pages, 25 cm, ìPublished in large printî written on verso of title page (large print edition) Prior: 1981, 639 pages, 25 cm (large print) Macmillan Library Reference: 1981 (large type) Ballantine: 1981 (open market paperback edition) Ballantine: 1982, 433 pages, 1 map, 18 cm (paperback) (see image on number 2) Edito-Service: 1982, 364 pages, 1 map, 21 cm (Heron books series) Pan: 1982, 334 pages (paperback) Pan in association with Collins: 1983, 334 pages, 1 map, 18 cm (paperback) Ballantine: 1989 (paperback) Fontana: 1990, 476 pages (paperback) Fontana: 1990, 365 pages, 1 map, 18 cm (paperback) Ballantine: 1993 (mass market paperback, reissue edition) Pan: 1996, 580 pages, 1 map, 18 cm (paperback) (sources: WorldCat, Eureka, InfoTrac, Amazon.com, Random House Online, Powellís Books Online, Barnes and Noble Online, Whitakerís Books Online, Contemporary Authors Online)
6 Last date in print?
The Ballantine 1981 open market paperback edition, and the 1982 and 1989 mass market paperback editions are still in print as of 1999, as is the Pan Books 1982 paperback. The most recent edition, the Ballantine 1993 reissue, is out of stock indefinitely, as is the Random House 1981 first edition. The Macmillan Library Reference 1981 edition is out of print. (sources: InfoTrac, Barnes and Noble Online, Amazon.com, Whitakerís Books Online)
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
As the #5 fiction bestseller for 1981, there were 273,000 copies sold. The book was also the yearís longest-running hardcover fiction bestseller on Publishers Weeklyís weekly charts, with a total of 37 appearances. The Ballantine mass market paperback editionís first printing yielded 1,720,000 copies, and a fourth printing of 200,000 brought this figure up to an in-print total of 1.8 million copies. This edition was the #2 mass market paperback bestseller of 1982, and spent 22 weeks on the Publishers Weekly list that year, selling 3 million copies. (sources: Publishers Weekly, Current Biography Yearbook)
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
No sales figures can be found at this time. However, in 1981 the first edition of the book remained on the New York Times fiction bestseller list for 45 weeks (2 weeks at number 1) and on the Publishers Weekly hardcover fiction list for 42 weeks (2 weeks at number 1). In 1982, the Ballantine mass market paperback edition remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 27 weeks (5 weeks at number 1) and on the Publishers Weekly list for 30 weeks (6 weeks at number 1). The book spent a total of 144 weeks on these lists. (sources: Bestseller Index by Justice)
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
There is a black and white ad in the New York Times Book Review for four new books published by Random house, consisting of a 1 and one-fourth page spread divided into four separate boxes with a book in each one. At the top of the page it says: ìWonderful reading! Four best-selling novels from Random House!î A picture of the first edition is in the top right hand box with two quotes directly to the right. They read: ìSuperb in its sense of mysteryÖsuperb in its detective workÖsuperb in its evocation of the Moscow atmosphere.î ñCHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT, New York Times ìSplendidÖIt takes its place alongside the best creations of John Le Carre.î ñPeter Andrews, front cover, N.Y. Times Book Review $13.95 There were also several ads in Publishers Weekly for the Book-of-the-Month Club displaying Gorky Park as a dual main selection. (sources: Publishers Weekly, New York Times Book Review, Book Review Digest, Book Review Index)
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
There is an article in the New York Times Book Review about Martin Cruz Smith, and it notes that Philip Turner, owner of the family business Under Cover Books in Cleveland, was so taken by Gorky Park that he let his entire family read it. They felt the same way as he, so they came up with an entire promotion and paid for it out of their own pockets (this was the first in their history). They sent out letters to their customers telling them to get the book via UPS. Under Cover Books sold more than 100 copies before the book was released to the general public, more than half of which were from the mailing. The book was also primarily sold in independent book stores, which indicated a broader reader interest, and most of the sales came from the East Coast. It was also promoted as a Book-of-the-Month Club selection several times, and at the top of one of these ads it reads: ìEnrich your home with books that never go out of style.î Also, there was a ìSpecial Readers Editionî printed in 1980 for booksellers and salesmen before the actual first edition was released to the public in 1981(see number 1). (sources: New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, WorldCat, Bibliofind Online, Contemporary Authors Online, Book Review Digest, Book Review Index)
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Gorky Park has been made into a screenplay and a movie with a soundtrack, and there are many audio and video editions as well: Books on Tape: 1981, audio Potter, Dennis. Gorky Park: screenplay. 128 leaves: 28 cm. First draft, 1981. Potter, Dennis. Gorky Park: screenplay. 127 leaves: 29 cm. Third draft, 11 October 1982. Books on Tape: 1983, 10 sound cassettes, read by Wolfram Kandinsky (unabridged) Vestron Video: 1983, 1 VHS videocassette (127 minutes) Recorded Books: 1983, 10 sound cassettes (15 hours): analog, narrated by Henry Strozier (unabridged) (note: description on container indicates set consists of 11 cassettes) Recorded Books: 1983, 11 sound cassettes (15 hours), unabridged edition, read by Henry Strozier Varese Sarabande: 1983, 1 compact sound disc: digital, original motion picture soundtrack (music composed and conducted by James Horner) Books on Tape: 1984, 10 sound cassettes: analog, read by Wolfram Kandinsky (note: title from soundtrack) RCA VideoDiscs: 1984, 1 videodisc (127 minutes) of 1983 motion picture by Orion Pictures Vestron Video: 1984, 1 Beta format videocassette (127 minutes) (note: videocassette release of the 1983 motion picture by Eagle Associates) Vestron Video: 1984, 2 videodiscs (127 minutes) of 1983 motion picture by Orion Pictures Vestron Video: 1984, 1 VHS videocassette (127 minutes) (note: videocassette release of the 1983 motion picture by Eagle Associates) Books on Tape: 1986, 10 cassettes, read by Wolfram Kandinsky Random House AudioBooks: 1986, 2 sound cassettes (179 minutes): analog, Dolby processed, read by Bob Gunton (note: AudioBooks musical signature composed by Scott Killian; William Fowler, narrator) (says ìAbridgementî on container) Video Treasures: 1989, 1 VHS format videocassette (127 minutes), rated R (note: videocassette release of the 1983 motion picture by Eagle Associates) Recorded Books: 1991, 10 sound cassettes: analog, read by Henry Strozier (previously issued on 11 cassettes) Goodtimes: 1993, VHS format videocassette (128 minutes), rated R, Orion Pictures, cast: William Hurt, Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy, Ian Bannen, Joanna Pacula, screenplay by Dennis Potter, executive producer: Bob Larson, producers: Gene Kirkwood and Howard W. Koch, Jr., director: Michael Apted, music: James Horner, director of photography: Ralf D. Bode, editor: Dennis Virkler Orion Home Video: 1993, 1 videocassette (128 minutes) The screen rights to the book were sold to Howard Koch Jr. and Gene Kirkwood for $250,000. John Schlesinger was signed to direct the movie. (sources: WorldCat, Eureka, Barnes and Noble Online, The New York Times on the web)
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
There were numerous translations of Gorky Park in many languages: Lasser Press Mexicana: 1981, 483 pages, 1 map, 23 cm, paperback, 1a edicion en espanol (Spanish) Robert Laffont: 1981, 390 pages, 25 cm (French) Editora Record: 1981, 384 pages, 21 cm, 3rd edition (Portuguese) Lasser Press: 1981, 483 pages, 23 cm, 2a edition (Spanish) Robert Laffont: 1981, 633 pages, 17 cm (French) Scherz: 1982, 344 pages, 22 cm (Swiss) A. Mondadori: 1982, 393 pages, 1 map, 23 cm, 1st edition Lasser Press Mexicana: 1982, 483 pages, 1 map, 23 cm, paperback, 2a edicion en espanol (Spanish) Huang kuan chíu pan she: 1981, 412 pages, 20 cm (Chinese) France Loisirs: 1982, 390 pages, 25 cm (French) Quarto/Lasser: 1983, 411 pages, 1 map, 21 cm, paperback (Spanish) Lasser Press Mexicana: 1983, 483 pages, 1 map, 23 cm, paperback (Spanish) Drzavna zalozba Slovenije: 1983, 2v, 21 cm (Slovenian) Hayakawa Shobo: 1984, 437 pages, 1 map, 20 cm (Japanese) Ardis: 1985, 393 pages, 22 cm (Russian) Shih chieh chih shih chíu pan she: 1985, 477 pages, 19 cm (Chinese) Ediciones Orbis: 1988, 411 pages, 1 map, 20 cm (Spanish) Grijalbo: 1991, 468 pages, 1 map, 20 cm (Spanish) Almapress: 1991, 403 pages, 20 cm (Polish) Novosti: 1992, 398 pages, 20 cm (Russian) Deutschen Bucherbundes: 1993, 413 pages, 1 map, 23 cm (German) Novosti: 1994, 366 pages, 21 cm (Russian) Mustang: 1996, 414 pages, 22 cm (Cesky) Nashr-I Paykan: 1997, 591 pages, 22 cm (Persian) (sources: OCLC FirstSearch Online, WorldCat, Eureka)
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
The book was not serialized. (sources: Contemporary Authors Online, Publishers Weekly, Book Review Index)
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
There are three other books or sequels in the Arkady Renko (the main character of Gorky Park) series: Polar Star, Red Square, and Havana Bay. The publication information is as follows: Polar Star: Random House, 1989. 386 pages, illustrations, 25 cm. 1st Trade Edition. Red Square: Random House, 1992. 418 pages, 25 cm. 1st edition. Havana Bay: Random House, 1999. 329 pages, hardcover edition. (sources: WorldCat, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble Online)
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Martin William Smith was born in Reading, Pennsylvania on November 3, 1942. His father was a jazz saxophonist and professional photographer named John Calhoun Smith, and his mother, Louise (Lopez) Smith, was a jazz singer and Native American rights leader. He grew up in Philadelphia, and in Tularosa and Las Lunas, New Mexico, and he attended high school at Germantown Academy in Pennsylvania (Contemporary Authors, "Master" F1a). Smith spent his college years at the University of Pennsylvania, where his parents urged him to pursue a career in music. Despite their wishes, he studied sociology, but later decided to become a creative writing major. In 1964, Smith graduated with a B.A. in creative writing, and then he went on to work for several local newspapers and television stations, as a correspondent for the Associated Press, and later as a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News in 1965. Then in 1966, he came upon a job with Magazine Management Company in New York, and soon afterwards he became editor of the magazine For Men Only, where he wrote a multitude of stories under fictitious names before being fired in 1969 (Contemporary Authors, "Master" F1a, Current Biography Yearbook). In 1970, Belmont-Tower Books published his first novel, The Indians Won, and after receiving a copy an agent named Knox Burger decided to represent Smith. In 1971, Putnam published Gypsy in Amber, Smith's first hardcover novel, as well as Canto for a Gypsy in 1972. During the following years, Smith wrote over 30 paperback novels under a variety of pseudonyms, such as Simon Quinn, Nick Carter, and Jake Logan. It was in 1977 when Smith, in his first hardcover novel, Nightwing, replaced his middle name "William" with "Cruz"?the last name of his maternal grandmother, a Pueblo Indian?for more commercial appeal, as he has often stated (Contemporary Authors, "Master" F1a, Current Biography Yearbook, Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia). Since 1972, Smith had been working on a detective story set in Russia. He had visited Moscow for only about six days, roaming the streets and taking in details of what Soviet life was really like. He also gathered information from the Russians he knew at home. When Putnam's, the publisher who originally endorsed the idea for the book, tried to dictate to Smith how the story should be written, a battle ensued before he was finally able to buy the book back in 1978. Two years later, he and his agent began negotiating publishing rights with Random House and Ballantine, resulting in a one million-dollar sale. Finally in 1981, after eight years of work, Gorky Park was published, becoming a bestseller almost instantly, and catapulting Smith to fame (Contemporary Authors, "Master" F1a, Current Biography Yearbook, "Inspiration" BW11a, "Books" III). Martin Cruz Smith has published three sequels to Gorky Park?Polar Star (1986), Red Square (1992), and Havana Bay (1999)?as well as two other novels, Stallion Gate (1986), and Rose (1996). Today, he lives with his wife Emily, and three children, Ellen Irish, Luisa Cruz, and Samuel Kip, in Marin County, California (Contemporary Authors, "Master" F1a, Current Biography Yearbook, www.amazon.com). Sources: "The Master of ?Gorky Park.'" The Washington Post 10 Apr. 1981: F1a. "Inspiration." The Washington Post 8 Feb. 1981: BW11a. "Books of The Times." The New York Times 19 Mar. 1981: III. "Smith, Martin (William) Cruz." Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature. Vol. 1. New York: HarperCollins, 1991. Online, Available: Infotrac. 30 Oct. 1999. "Martin Cruz Smith." Current Biography Yearbook, 1990. Ed. Charles Fredric Moritz. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1990. "Martin Cruz Smith." Biography Index. Ed. Walter Webb. Vol. 12. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1983. "Martin Cruz Smith." Contemporary Authors New Revisions. Vol. 23. Detroit: Gale Research Group, 1999. Online, Available: Infotrac. 30 Oct. 1999. "Martin Cruz Smith." Search. Internet. Available: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/subst/home/books.html (31 Oct. 1999).
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
In the reviews written on Martin Cruz Smith's breakthrough bestseller Gorky Park, critics generally agree that the novel is a remarkable piece of writing which serves to rank Smith among the finer authors of the time. Almost every critique is positive and enthusiastic, and there are no entirely negative reviews. The only major problem some critics have with the story is the ending, deeming it weak in comparison to the rest of the novel. However, even these mild skeptics often dismiss their own assessments and once again embrace Gorky Park with a remarkable fondness. The majority of the reviewers ardently comment on the main strengths in the novel?namely Smith's attention to detail in his descriptions, his characterizations, and his ability to depict Russian society?while a relative few disagree with these assertions. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt of The New York Times is impressed by Smith's vivid storytelling, stating that, "At times, once can almost hear Mr. Smith chortling between the lines with delight over the way his Moscow has come to life and the way his characters move in it and express themselves." Many critics agree that Smith's picture of Russia is painted with great clarity, despite the fact that he only visited there for a short time, as one reviewer from The Washington Post notes: "More perhaps than any other recent work of American fiction, this one conveys a feeling for the Soviet Union, its capital, its moods and its people?which is all the more remarkable because Smith spent a total of two weeks in Moscow in 1973." There are numerous other supportive reviews on this same point, including one from The Armchair Detective noting "the absolute reality of the illusion that we have entered into Soviet life. Scenes and characterizations leap off the page with the clarity and coherence of photographs," and another from The Nation stating, "It is a genuinely absorbing picture of certain aspects of Russian and American life, neither automatically anti-Soviet?nor anti-American." However, Edmund Fuller from The Wall Street Journal, who seems to be somewhat unclear in his opinion of the novel, writes, "I have one large reservation. Mr. Smith does paint a bleakly harsh picture of the USSR," immediately after stating that "The picture of life in the USSR is remarkably convincing, its accuracy attested by many dissident Soviet writers." The portrayal of various characters throughout the book also causes differences of opinion between certain critics. Some feel that Gorky Park's greatest asset lies in its array of characters, and among them is Howard Lachtman, who remarks, "Smith's gift for character-drawing begins with Renko and branches out to a wonderful cast of supporting players." Peter Osnos agrees on this point, as is evident in his statement that Smith "manages, nonetheless, to portray cops, robbers, suspects, and victims with an uncanny authenticity." A reviewer from The Spectator, though, argues that, "The minor characters come alive through their vanities and confusions. It is the major figures who are weak." This particular view is opposed by John R. Dunlap, who feels Gorky Park's "major feat is the characterization of Arkady Renko." The one characteristic of Smith's writing that doesn't seem to be significantly challenged is his attention to detail. There is one minor exception, however, in the form of an unsupported remark made by Caroline Moorehead, who calls the book "over-elaborate," after maintaining in her first sentence that "[What give Martin Smith's Gorky Park] its force is the stunning assurance of his descriptions." Other interpretations regard the book as having a "marvelous complexity" or as being "vivid" in its descriptions. As is mentioned before, the main dilemma according to some critics of Gorky Park is the ending. Most believe that Smith ends a rather complicated story with a solution that is far too simple, or what Lehmann-Haupt calls in his review, "a rather cliched international shoot-?em-up." He reflects, though, that "in truth we don't really look at the end of this novel too objectively. We are still under the spell of its beginning and middle, because for its first two-thirds?Gorky Park is superb." Peter Andrews, treats the issue of the ending similarly, stating that, "If Gorky Park suffers from a flaw, it is one that is common among even the best examples of the genre. There is a falling-off at the end," but not without mentioning that the novel "transcends the genre," a common belief among many other critics as well. In many reviews, Gorky Park is compared to John Le Carre's spy novels, or to Dostoevsky's classic Crime and Punishment. In doing so, these critics regard Smith's novel as a great accomplishment and his talent exceptional, but not without first considering every aspect of his story. Sources: 1. Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher. "?Gorky Park'." The New York Times 19 Mar. 1981: III. 2. Osnos, Peter. "Three Faceless Corpses." Book World-The Washington Post 29 Mar. 1981: 3. 3. Lekachman, Robert. "A Wicked World, East and West." The Nation 4 Apr. 1981: 406-07. 4. Andrews, Peter. "Murder in Moscow, Arkady Renko on the Case." The New York Times Book Review 5 Apr. 1981: 1, 30. 5. Steinberg, Karen. "Murder Thriller Set in Moscow." The Christian Science Monitor 13 Apr. 1981: B8. 6. Dunlap, John R. "Book Reviews: ?Gorky Park'." The American Spectator Sep. 1981: 32-4. 7. Moorehead, Caroline. "Double-Talk." The Spectator 12 Sep. 1981: 22-3. 8. Lachtman, Howard. "Current Reviews: ?Gorky Park'." The Armchair Detective Vol. 14. No. 4 1981: 361-62. 9. Fuller, Edmund. "The Russians Corrupted, King David Vulgarized." The Wall Street Journal 18 May 1981: 26. 10. Spiegelman, Arthur. "Potboiler writer cooks with Russian thriller." The Chicago Tribune 25 Mar. 1981: 3-1-1-P. 11. Walton, Richard J. "A triple play for fans of the global thriller." The Chicago Tribune 19 Apr. 1981: 7-3-1-R. 12. Scammell, Michael. Times Literary Supplement 5 June, 1981: 640. 13. Kanfer, Stefan. Time 30 Mar. 1981: 81.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
In the reviews written on Martin Cruz Smith's breakthrough bestseller Gorky Park, critics generally agree that the novel is a remarkable piece of writing which serves to rank Smith among the finer authors of the time. Almost every critique is positive and enthusiastic, and there are no entirely negative reviews. The only major problem some critics have with the story is the ending, deeming it weak in comparison to the rest of the novel. However, even these mild skeptics often dismiss their own assessments and once again embrace Gorky Park with a remarkable fondness. The majority of the reviewers ardently comment on the main strengths in the novel?namely Smith's attention to detail in his descriptions, his characterizations, and his ability to depict Russian society?while a relative few disagree with these assertions. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt of The New York Times is impressed by Smith's vivid storytelling, stating that, "At times, once can almost hear Mr. Smith chortling between the lines with delight over the way his Moscow has come to life and the way his characters move in it and express themselves." Many critics agree that Smith's picture of Russia is painted with great clarity, despite the fact that he only visited there for a short time, as one reviewer from The Washington Post notes: "More perhaps than any other recent work of American fiction, this one conveys a feeling for the Soviet Union, its capital, its moods and its people?which is all the more remarkable because Smith spent a total of two weeks in Moscow in 1973." There are numerous other supportive reviews on this same point, including one from The Armchair Detective noting "the absolute reality of the illusion that we have entered into Soviet life. Scenes and characterizations leap off the page with the clarity and coherence of photographs," and another from The Nation stating, "It is a genuinely absorbing picture of certain aspects of Russian and American life, neither automatically anti-Soviet?nor anti-American." However, Edmund Fuller from The Wall Street Journal, who seems to be somewhat unclear in his opinion of the novel, writes, "I have one large reservation. Mr. Smith does paint a bleakly harsh picture of the USSR," immediately after stating that "The picture of life in the USSR is remarkably convincing, its accuracy attested by many dissident Soviet writers." The portrayal of various characters throughout the book also causes differences of opinion between certain critics. Some feel that Gorky Park's greatest asset lies in its array of characters, and among them is Howard Lachtman, who remarks, "Smith's gift for character-drawing begins with Renko and branches out to a wonderful cast of supporting players." Peter Osnos agrees on this point, as is evident in his statement that Smith "manages, nonetheless, to portray cops, robbers, suspects, and victims with an uncanny authenticity." A reviewer from The Spectator, though, argues that, "The minor characters come alive through their vanities and confusions. It is the major figures who are weak." This particular view is opposed by John R. Dunlap, who feels Gorky Park's "major feat is the characterization of Arkady Renko." The one characteristic of Smith's writing that doesn't seem to be significantly challenged is his attention to detail. There is one minor exception, however, in the form of an unsupported remark made by Caroline Moorehead, who calls the book "over-elaborate," after maintaining in her first sentence that "[What give Martin Smith's Gorky Park] its force is the stunning assurance of his descriptions." Other interpretations regard the book as having a "marvelous complexity" or as being "vivid" in its descriptions. As is mentioned before, the main dilemma according to some critics of Gorky Park is the ending. Most believe that Smith ends a rather complicated story with a solution that is far too simple, or what Lehmann-Haupt calls in his review, "a rather cliched international shoot-?em-up." He reflects, though, that "in truth we don't really look at the end of this novel too objectively. We are still under the spell of its beginning and middle, because for its first two-thirds?Gorky Park is superb." Peter Andrews, treats the issue of the ending similarly, stating that, "If Gorky Park suffers from a flaw, it is one that is common among even the best examples of the genre. There is a falling-off at the end," but not without mentioning that the novel "transcends the genre," a common belief among many other critics as well. In many reviews, Gorky Park is compared to John Le Carre's spy novels, or to Dostoevsky's classic Crime and Punishment. In doing so, these critics regard Smith's novel as a great accomplishment and his talent exceptional, but not without first considering every aspect of his story. Sources: 1. Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher. "?Gorky Park'." The New York Times 19 Mar. 1981: III. 2. Osnos, Peter. "Three Faceless Corpses." Book World-The Washington Post 29 Mar. 1981: 3. 3. Lekachman, Robert. "A Wicked World, East and West." The Nation 4 Apr. 1981: 406-07. 4. Andrews, Peter. "Murder in Moscow, Arkady Renko on the Case." The New York Times Book Review 5 Apr. 1981: 1, 30. 5. Steinberg, Karen. "Murder Thriller Set in Moscow." The Christian Science Monitor 13 Apr. 1981: B8. 6. Dunlap, John R. "Book Reviews: ?Gorky Park'." The American Spectator Sep. 1981: 32-4. 7. Moorehead, Caroline. "Double-Talk." The Spectator 12 Sep. 1981: 22-3. 8. Lachtman, Howard. "Current Reviews: ?Gorky Park'." The Armchair Detective Vol. 14. No. 4 1981: 361-62. 9. Fuller, Edmund. "The Russians Corrupted, King David Vulgarized." The Wall Street Journal 18 May 1981: 26. 10. Spiegelman, Arthur. "Potboiler writer cooks with Russian thriller." The Chicago Tribune 25 Mar. 1981: 3-1-1-P. 11. Walton, Richard J. "A triple play for fans of the global thriller." The Chicago Tribune 19 Apr. 1981: 7-3-1-R. 12. Scammell, Michael. Times Literary Supplement 5 June, 1981: 640. 13. Kanfer, Stefan. Time 30 Mar. 1981: 81.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Martin Cruz Smith's murder-mystery novel Gorky Park has been dubbed a "breakthrough thriller," a "tour de force," and "startlingly original" among other things, and is often referred to as setting "a new standard in ?spy thrillers'," and pioneering "the serial-killer/travelogue subgenre"("Havana" D6, "Moscow" 7-1, "Arkady" X5, Contemporary Authors Online, "Gorky" B7). The book became a bestseller almost instantly after its release in early 1981, and critics praised Smith's convincing portrait of Cold War Moscow, as well as his main character, the Russian detective Arkady Renko. Smith was nominated for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award in 1982, and in the same year he won the Crime Writers Association's Gold Dagger award ("Season"). The book was made into a movie due to its popularity, and though it received mostly negative reviews, it did not damage the novel's reputation. Most of Gorky Park's success can be attributed to the originality of its well-written plot and to the fact that it was set in Russia during the later years of the Cold War, when people in the United States were becoming interested in the workings of a closed society slowly trying to open up. Other major factors contributing to the novel's prosperity include the immense efforts made by both the author and the publishers to get it to press, Smith's ability to write expertly about Russian society, and the fact that it was often compared to classic novels or works by prominent spy and thriller writers. All of the ingredients in Gorky Park's success story seem to point to the conclusion that bestsellers aren't always easy to read or written by famous authors, and that each is its own phenomenon. Smith came up with the idea for Gorky Park in 1973 after reading a review of a book called The Face Finder in Newsweek. The book described the process of restoring human faces from the skeletons of murder victims, a practice only known in the Soviet Union. With this image in the back of his mind, Smith started planning his story and decided that an American cop and a Russian detective would be the main characters ("Master" F1a). He also made a brief visit to Moscow, taking in the details of each place he intended to include in the novel. In an interview with Smith in The Washington Post, Curt Suplee explained how, "after the few days in Moscow, he became interested in the challenge of making a dingy, rumpled Soviet cop his hero, and discovered that he had serious thoughts about Soviet and American societies. In the process, he began shaking off the Grub Street mind-set derived from years of writing small successes like ?Gypsy in Amber' and fast novels under fictional names." During the visit Smith also began to understand the significance of his work-in-progress, "I suddenly realized that I had something?this is the book that can set me free" ("Master" F1a). With its highly original and complicated plot, Gorky Park took nearly eight years to complete. Smith spent many of those years struggling with his publisher in order to have the freedom to write the way he wanted to. Putnam's wanted him to keep the phrase "mass market appeal" in mind while writing Gorky Park, but Smith had plans of his own. After finally managing to buy back the book, he and his agent made a deal with Random House and Ballantine Books for the amount of one million dollars. Smith decided on this amount, and his agent Knox Burger felt confident that he would get it because of the book's exceptional quality, "My only problem was that it was too much of a novel?not junky enough to get into that big popcorn market" ("Master" F1a). Still, Smith was not a well-known author at the time, and such a large gamble said a lot about the future of Gorky Park. Even before its official release to the public, a special uncorrected edition of the book was printed and given to booksellers across the country. When the novel was released in 1981, it was sold mainly in independent bookstores, and sales were greater on the East Coast. These facts suggested that the people who were buying Gorky Park had broader interests than the devoted fans of many famous authors, whose novels usually became bestsellers the moment they hit the shelves. Therefore, Smith's breakthrough book seemed to be just that?a breakthrough. The author was basically unknown, and the story itself wasn't exactly easy reading, and to put it simply, the novel's success was quite astounding. Beginning in the late 1970's and early 1980's, numerous thrillers and police procedural novels, as well as tales of espionage?many of them set in Russia?became popular, but Gorky Park seemed to shine more brightly than the rest because it was new and quite unique. For one thing, it's hero was a Russian and it's villain an American?an entirely new twist on the conventional formula where the American plays the good guy. However, the novel according to Robert Lekachman is, "neither automatically anti-Soviet in the style of Commentary nor anti-American in the weary manner of the aging New Left" ("Wicked" 406-07). Therefore, Americans enjoyed it, and in Russia, where the book was banned and Smith declared an enemy of the state, it "became an underground hit" ("Moscow rules"). Nor was the story merely "a Cold War tract," as Richard J. Walton states ("triple" 7-3-1-R). Arkady is not only involved in a murder mystery, but also in a love affair with Irina Asanova, and thus the book has wider appeal. Smith even says, "The point of the book was not just to show how cold and sorry Russian life was, but that there's enormous warmth in people who are survivors of the same horrible situation" ("Moscow rules"). The novel was set in Brezhnevian Moscow during the later years of the Cold War, a period which held endless possibilities for spy novelists. The "evil empire" of Russia was slowly opening up, and most people wanted to get a glimpse of it ("Spies" C2). During this time, quite a number of authors attempted to accurately depict Russian society in their novels, but relatively few succeeded. Smith, along with Stuart M. Kaminsky, whose book Death of a Dissident is often compared to Gorky Park, seemed to be among the small circle of mystery writers able to accomplish such a feat. In addition to this, both of the authors addressed some of the misconceptions people had about Soviet life in general. Gary J. Hausladen said of Gorky Park, "Again, the intriguing aspect of the novel is that this component of place breaks down many of the stereotypes Westerners had about Soviet society before the Gorbachev regime" ("Murder" 63-79). Therefore, the possibility of learning more about the so-called "evil empire" was enough to prompt people to buy these books. Gorky Park has often been classified as a "cultural murder-mystery," meaning that its location "is such an essential element in the novel that without a sense of place the plot is needlessly enigmatic" ("Murder" 63-79). Critics and readers alike were impressed with Smith's ability to write about Moscow with such expertise and authority. Despite his accuracy of atmosphere and detail, the author only spent two weeks in Moscow to do research for the book. For the majority of his information, he had to rely upon the words of Russian émigrés he'd befriended in the United States. While Smith was in Moscow, he did not have a camera, fearing it would draw attention, but a sketchbook. As he walked the streets of the city he took notice of everything, even the small and rather obscure details, since he felt they were necessary in order to capture the true essence of Moscow. These seemingly trivial pieces of Muscovian life made a big difference though, especially to the readers and critics, who continuously praised Smith's accuracy?some people even believed him to be an expert on Russia. In fact, it was the author's inexpertness that made the novel so realistic. Smith used his imagination in capturing details of the story he wasn't entirely sure about, and by doing so he allowed his Moscow to come alive to the reader. Smith was also commended on his portrayal of the novel's hero, Arkady Renko. According to Peter Osnos, the characters in some tales of Russia are far from realistic, "Most novels about the Soviets tend to caricature them into sinister stick figures: spies, dissidents, generals, political commissars" ("Three" 4). Gorky Park was different than most novels, however. Arkady fit into none of these categories?he was the Chief Investigator in Moscow, but not exactly what many would call an active member of the Communist Party, as was expected of such a high-ranking official. He was not corrupt, and unlike his lover Irina, he did not wish to escape his home of Moscow and flee to the great West. These traits made Arkady easier to like than most unrealistic characters seen in traditional spy novels, and so this particular aspect of the book helped it reach an even wider audience. Several other factors could have contributed to the novel's success in sales. First, Gorky Park was often compared to Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, or to novels by Graham Greene and John le Carre. Since many people knew and liked these popular or classic novels and novelists, they might have considered reading Gorky Park just to see if it actually compared. Another factor in the book's popularity could have been plain old curiosity. The title of the book itself is rather different, especially if the potential reader has never been to Russia, or even heard of Moscow's famous Gorky Park. Lastly, Smith was virtually unknown at the time of the book's publication and didn't yet have a large following of readers, but a large publishing company, Random House, had given him a million dollars for his book. So, many people believed the book had to be good because it was getting quite a bit of attention. This knowledge, along with the book's record of positive reception among critics, could have caused a significant number of people to buy it as well. Although the movie "Gorky Park" lost money at the box office and was considered a failure by many critics, it did not affect the book in a negative manner. The novel most likely received some benefits from the movie's release, as many people preferred to read the book before seeing the story appear on the big screen. Others could just not be convinced that "the bare bones of the book are better than the flesh" ("Man" 20). As for Smith, he called Dennis Potter's screenplay a "cold, sour script" ("Moscow rules"). It was a daunting task to try to condense such a highly developed plot into something shorter and simpler. Smith had this in mind when he was interviewed by the book editor of The Seattle Times, Mary Ann Gwinn: "That complexity makes it unlikely that you'll see Renko in a theater near you" ("Finding" C1). Smith was referring to the movie potential of Gorky Park's three sequels?Polar Star, Red Square, and Havana Bay?when he made the comment. Gorky Park was only the beginning for Martin Cruz Smith?he wrote three sequels to this book, as well as two other novels. His most recent book, Havana Bay, was published in 1999. The author has remained a significant figure in literature even though the era of spy novels passed with the end of the Cold War. He says of this particular genre, "I don't find it as compelling or as credible. We've gone past the epic enemy. Now we're down to the mini-series enemy" ("When" 56-8). Smith's unmistakable style, as well as with his ability to depict both people and places with great care, contributed greatly to his success. Gorky Park has influenced the works of numerous authors, both in and out of its genre, and continues to serve as a standard for all mystery novels even today. Sources: 1. Beam, Ale. "?Havana' plot doesn't travel well." The Boston Globe 8 June 1998: D6. 2. Nathan, Robert Stuart. "A Moscow Cop at Sea." The New York Times 16 July 1989: 7-1. 3. Beddow, Reid. "Arkady Renko: From Gorky Park to the Bering Strait." The Washington Post 2 July 1989: X5. 4. Contemporary Authors Online Database 5. Emerson, Victor. "Gorky Park cop lives another day." The Ottawa Citizen 5 Dec. 1992: B7. 6. Mann, Paul. "Season of the Monsoon." Kirkus Reviews 15 Apr. 1993. 7. Lekachman, Robert. "A Wicked World, East and West." The Nation 4 Apr. 1981: 406-07. 8. Walton, Richard J. "A triple play for fans of the global thriller." The Chicago Tribune 19 Apr. 1981: 7-3-1-R. 9. Pascoe, David. "Moscow rules." Sunday Times 27 Sept. 1992. 10. Suplee, Curt. "The Master of ?Gorky Park.'" The Washington Post 10 Apr. 1981: F1a. 11. Watson, Julia. "Spies in the Cold War Thaw." The Washington Post 7 July 1992: C2. 12. Hausladen, Gary J. "Murder in Moscow." The Geographical Review Jan. 1995: 63-79. 13. Osnos, Peter. "Three Faceless Corpses." Book World-The Washington Post 29 Mar. 1981: 4. 14. Gwinn, Mary Ann. "Finding connected person is the key for novelist Smith." The Seattle Times 7 July 1999: C1. 15. Malcolm, Derek. "Our man in the savannah." Manchester Guardian Weekly 15 Jan. 1984: 20. 16. Kanfer, Stefan. "When spies become allies." Time 19 Aug. 1991: 56-8.
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