Special Feature: Maia: A Novel by Richard Manichello

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His name is Eddie Genell. He is a journalist. He is a kid from Pittsburgh, a true blue American who grew up in a world of ‘57 Chevys and football. His youth was spent in burger joints, downing six-packs with friends, and going to drive-in movies to make out with his dates. Despite the idyllic lifestyle, the threat of the Russians loomed large in his daily life. He remembers running through air raid drills in grade school. Every other television news coverage showed the enemy wanting to turn his country into nuclear rubble.

Her name is Maia Larisa Ulyanova. She is a figure skater, an innocent beauty from the cold streets of Leningrad. Her father disappeared while serving Stalin’s army. Her mother perished as well, leaving her a teenage orphan with nothing but the joy of skating to console her. She trained with a ballet company; her hard work and passion will eventually send her to the Winter Olympic Games in 1984, where she is viewed as a national heroine, an aspirational beauty who could take home the gold medal.

Eddie was an all-American kid who didn’t expect to fall for someone who represented all things anti-American. Maia knew in her heart and soul that the Americanskis were terrible people. Set in the backdrop of one of the most significant Cold War crises, Eddie and Maia meet. And despite all their misgivings, of their suspicions of the enemy they grew up fearing, they fall in love. Theirs is a love story that formed in the shadow of nuclear and atomic bomb threats. Theirs is a love story narrated authentically by a writer who spent time in Cold War Russia. Author Richard Manichello was in the Soviet Union in the 80’s and kept company with Russian athletes, many of whom were preparing to compete in the Olympics. Much like Eddie and Maia, he lived through the threat of the biggest crises of the Cold War. It is from this experience that this love story was formed, explored, and nurtured.

Maia: A Cold War Novel follows a plot that is as old as time, that of star-crossed lovers, of opposing forces finding themselves irresistibly attracted to each other but this novel is more of lovers and quarrels. It is a romantic story, yes, but it is a lot bigger than that. It is a story of strong characters, of resilience in the most uncertain of times. It is an exploration of how our perceptions of other cultures can be askew in the context of world events that are filtered through the media. In Leningrad, Eddie discovers many facets of the Russians that endeared them to him. He discovers their humor, kindness, and passion. He realizes that they also share a common enemy, those of Cold War ideologies.

What Readers Say

" Page-turning love story. The dialogue is well written with humor ...

Maia is a fast-paced, page-turning love story. The dialogue is well written with humor throughout. Use the Russian and Serbo-Croatian glossary in the back of the book to enhance the international experience. I couldn't put the novel down and was left wanting more! more."

MLH, Amazon Client Verified Purchase

“Such a great story! I couldn't put it down. Fabulous writing!!”

— Amazon Client, Verified Purchase

“A terrific, engrossing, and literary read without the pretension. History, love, lust, compassion, and intelligence combine with a mastery of plot and language. Manichello mines the vein of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, who both would raise a toast.”

—Lloyd Pace, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase

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Richard is an Emmy Award-winning writer/director from the television and film industry. He's directed and performed in theaters in and around New York. And he's the author of two novels, several short stories, and one-act plays (some produced). Well-traveled afar and familiar with many different cultures. He spent much time in the Cold War era Soviet Union producing films and short profiles for the major American television networks. From his travels in the Easter Bloc countries, springs the novel, Maia. A Soviet Olympic figure skater and an American journalist fall hopelessly in love. Romeo and Juliet never had it so bad.

His first novel, The Couloir, details his character's long struggle with the scars of a sexual addiction. Purification comes when he stares down the chute of Switzerland's deadliest vertical scar, on a pair of skis. He must accomplish the steep chute of terrifying extremes.

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