Yama: The Pit

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The Pit is a novel by Alexander Kuprin published in installments between 1909 and 1915. The book, centering on a brothel, owned by a woman named Anna Markovna, caused much controversy in its time.

Alexander Kuprin started collecting the material for his work in Kiev in 1890s, and it is in this city that the novel’s action takes place. Speaking in 1909 to a local newspaper correspondent about prototypes, he commented: “Characters I’ve made cannot be seen as copying real people. I picked up a lot of small details from the real life, but that was by no means copying the reality, which is something I detest doing.” He added that his observations were by no means restricted to Kiev. “The Pit is Odessa, Petersburg and Kiev,” Kuprin said.

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