I’ve always been interested in Russian history, particularly that of the twentieth century – but for some reason or another, I’ve never really looked into the specifics of Stalin’s death. It occurred to me this was a bit of a notable omission, so in a way this graphic novel proved a nice intersection of my interests, and what I wanted to know more about.
The Death of Stalin tells an engaging story – “the intense and underhanded struggle for control of a nation”, as the blurb proclaims. It’s an apt description; this graphic novel focuses heavily on the political machinations of powerful men in a country that’s been ruled by fear for a long time, and gets a lot of dramatic mileage from this premise. It’s consistently compelling – while it doesn’t linger particularly on any one character, there is a real attempt to develop this world and emphasise this struggle.
I recently read an advance copy of the English translation of this graphic novel, which is being adapted into a film by Armando Iannucci – here’s my review!