A book blog about Russia in English-language fiction

Tag: Constantine Fitzgibbon

When The Kissing Had To Stop by Constantine Fitzgibbon (1960)

When the Kissing Had to Stop was a celebrated ‘coming threat’ thriller back in its day, that is just before the 1960s —the end of the Chatterley ban et cetera—got going.

From the Russia in Fiction perspective, this reasonably slim novel is worth a quick review simply because, as thrillers tend to do, it provides a useful caricaturish picture of popular conceptions of Russia. Specifically, When the Kissing Had to Stop offers a conservative, even establishment, portrayal of a Soviet Union taking over Britain with the same ruthlessness with which it had imposed its rule in Eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War.

Like many such ‘Red threat to the UK’ novels (see our review of Russian Hide and Seek for a list), When the Kissing Had to Stop tells us more about England and about the author’s politics than it does about Russia.

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Russian Hide and Seek by Kingsley Amis (1980)

Russian Hide and Seek (1980) is set in the year 2035 and imagines an England that had been forcibly occupied by the Soviet Union since the mid-1980s. Amis’s fantastical future is of course shaped  by the world he knew in the late 1970s.

For all its title, Russian Hide and Seek is a novel about England far more than it is a novel about Russia.

Whereas Donald James —writing The Fall of the Russian Empire (1982) around the same time as Russian Hide and Seek came out— focused with notable accuracy on likely developments in Russia’s near-future, Amis has little to say about Russia and a little more to say obliquely about the declining state of the United Kingdom.

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