"No!" said the Chairman in triumph. "No subsidy!" This is America! Don't you see that the very fact that the hemburger [sic] kiosk is there means that somebody has worked out how to make a profit by selling the meal at fifteen cents. If the capitalist who owns the kiosk couldn't make a profit at that price, he wouldn't be doing it. That is the secret of everything we see here."
Here is one Amazon review of the book, Francis Spufford's latest:
This is a fantastic, innovative look at the economic policies of the USSR under Khrushchev. If my opening sentence sounds dull, please don't see it as a true representation of this book. Spufford's approach is to interweave extensive research with the imagination and invention of a novelist. The end result is a fantastic patchwork in which fictional characters rub shoulders with historical ones and stunning descriptive passages add lustre to what might have been dry, factual information.
It's one of the most stylish fictional experiments of the year, and yet it suddenly, and repeatedly, breaks into disquisitions about market socialism, Oskar Lange, the measurement of Soviet gdp, and Leonid Kantorovich.
Here is one Guardian review of the book. Here is a Telegraph review, also a rave. Here is more praise. Here is the Amazon UK listing. For a while Amazon US claimed the book would come out in March, now there is just this strange and useless listing.
I thank a loyal MR reader for the pointer.