RaveThe Financial Times (UK)The Kremlin’s alleged assassinations and attempted killings almost seem designed to generate Bond-villain headlines ... The details surrounding these cases are so lurid that at times they feel fictional, and with Untraceable, Sergei Lebedev has won the race to write the first serious (and immensely readable) spy novel about such poisoners. We can be thankful that a Russian did ... Untraceable echoes the stories we read in the headlines, starting with the poisoning of a Russian defector in an unspecified European city. But the most interesting parts of the novel are pure invention and centre on a Soviet chemist named Kalitin ... [Lebedev] takes the spy novel and transforms it into something akin to a political, even spiritual, allegory.
Witold Szablowski, Antonia Lloyd-Jones
RaveThe New York TimesThis narrative would have made for a lovely little book in its own right ... Throughout Dancing Bears, Szablowski challenges not only the conventions of linear storytelling, but also the linear logic of a simple political progression from unfree to free. But he doesn’t merely replace one imposed narrative with another. Instead, he provokes a far-reaching and unresolved conversation about what freedom might really mean. A reader yearning for an all-explaining style of storytelling will be frustrated. Maybe that, too, is a kind of nostalgia for tyranny.