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This is the wry and ironic story of Martin Edelweiss, a twenty-two-year-old Russian émigré of no account, who is in love with a girl who refuses to marry him. Convinced that his life is about to be wasted and hoping to impress his love, he decides to embark upon a "perilous, daredevil project"--an illegal attempt to reenter the Soviet Union, from which he and his mother had fled in 1919. He succeeds, but at a terrible cost.