Sell Us the Rope (Paperback)

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Sell Us the Rope is original, adept and confident, with the spry sardonic voice of the new historical fiction: it is entertaining and in the end, deeply moving.” -Hilary Mantel

“A deeply satisfying novel. Incisive, inventive, frequently very funny.” -The Guardian

In London in 1907, a decade before the revolution, young Stalin has yet to achieve the power, nor acted on the ruthlessness, that will define his legacy. Instead Koba, as he is known, arrives in London for the 5th Congress of the Russian Communist Part where he-and many of his fellow Bolsheviks-are only allowed to remain as a nonvoting witness. But his inability to vote does not limit his ability to act, and Stalin quickly begins forging alliances with the likes of Lenin, Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg-and a vivacious Finnish activist named Elli Vuokko.

As the Congress progresses, Koba begins to take daring risks-with the young Finnish idealist, with his past relationships to the Russian government, and with his future in the party. But as he manipulates those loyal to him and seeks to discover who he will remain loyal to in return, we see a great political mind in the works, and witness the development of a dictator.

About the Author

Stephen May is the author of five novels including Life! Death! Prizes! which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and The Guardian Not The Booker Prize. He has also been shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year and is a winner of the Media Wales Reader's Prize. He has also written plays, as well as for television and film. He lives in West Yorkshire.

Praise For…

"One of the great attractions of historical fiction is its ability to approach the past from unexpected angles, allowing us to consider famous figures in surprising ways. It’s a tactic that pays off brilliantly in Stephen May’s elegantly acerbic SELL US THE ROPE" - The New York Times

“Stellar … With a spare, sardonic style, May probes Stalin's childhood trauma, sense of charisma, and brutally violent side, humanizing him without sentimentalizing … This is superb.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“A riveting portrayal of a young Stalin in London.” —Financial Times

“An oft-sober, occasionally droll portrait of a monster-in-the-making. Impressively, [May] finds a flicker of humanity in a person who became a mass-murdering despot.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“May provides a complex profile of [Stalin] as a young man … Evocative and thought-provoking.” —Historical Novel Society

“The novel exposes the stark contradictions of communism at every turn … A subtly menacing portrayal of the future tyrant and mass killer.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This inventive literary work … daringly tak[es] a darkly comedic approach.” —Booklist

"Gripping … [May] combines characters—Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Rosa Luxemburg—who loom so large in history that they are difficult to think of as people at all with others whose stories and voices have been lost. And he crafts a drama both personal and political, a page-turning tale of idealism and intrigue and a cautionary tale of youthful zealotry." - Shelf Awareness

“Historical facts furnish May with a cast of legends to bring to life, and he does it with verve and humour.” —The Times

“A captivating thought-experiment that marks a consolidation of May's powers as a writer.” —The Telegraph

“A fascinating and immersive imagining of real events that both challenges and illuminates history.” —Benjamin Myers

Product Details
ISBN: 9781639731435
ISBN-10: 1639731431
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: March 7th, 2023
Pages: 240
Language: English