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Lying Together: My Russian Affair
by Jennifer Beth Cohen
University of Wisconsin Press, 2004
Cloth: 978-0-299-20100-5


    In January 1998, while the rest of her newsroom is chasing the Monica Lewinsky story, television journalist Jennifer Cohen gets a lead that takes her out of covering that scandal and deep into another one—the trafficking of sex slaves from the former Soviet Union into the United States. Knowing that the college crush she never quite forgot works for a St. Petersburg newspaper, she hires him to help out. Much to their surprise, they fall madly in love over thousands of miles of telephone line. Within weeks, Cohen finds herself engaged to marry a man she barely knows and on a plane to Russia. No one could have predicted the total collapse that followed—of the Russian economy, of her fiancé’s sobriety, of Cohen's mental health and physical safety, and of her professional aspirations.
    Cohen's vivid descriptions of her life in anything-goes Moscow—bribing government officials, meeting pimps in back alleys for interviews, being told by her boss to perpetuate American clichés about Russia in her pieces—are a colorful counterpart to the despair and loneliness that replaces the love between Cohen and her betrothed. Their battles with prescription drugs, alcoholic rages, and physical abuse are recounted with perspective and wit, offering a smart, poignant, and unvarnished look at a complicated relationship in a complicated land.

Jennifer Beth Cohen is an award-winning producer for CBS News/The Early Show and a writer based in New York City and Washington, D.C. She has been a news producer, documentary filmmaker, and a freelance journalist, and her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, New York, Maxim, and Allure. This is her first book.

"Sharp, fast-paced...a fascinating glimpse inside the world of newsgathering and of contemporary Russia."—Publishers Weekly

"Troubled lovers cling together in a sea of vodka and drugs in this journalist's memoir of her time in Russia….Cohen's language remains as journalistic at the end as it was at the beginning, but when she's describing the Dostoyevskian decline of her romance, her tale becomes simply riveting."—The New York Times Book Review

"Business meets sex meets pleasure meets danger meets their mutual love of the journalistic hunt. It's a heady cocktail.... a rather successful job of turning heartbreak into a quick, juicy read. All in all, she offers an interesting, if dark, account of the strange and dangerous places intemperate passions can lead us."—San Francisco Chronicle


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