The University of Wisconsin Press

Memoir / Journalism / Russia


Lying Together
My Russian Affair
Jennifer Beth Cohen

Terrace Books

"Riveting. The love story is wistful, funny, and wise, woven into a moment in history, also seen with a candid and revealing eye. This is an original-a fresh voice, a great read, a memorable coming of age story."—Carol Gilligan, author of In a Different Voice

"Cohen writes fearlessly about love, betrayal, and self-discovery. . . . Anyone who has fallen for the wrong person, or sought adventure, will be captivated by this tale of a young woman learning to become herself amid the swirls and intrigues of Moscow."—Michele Mitchell, author of The Latest Bombshell

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. 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—are a colorful counterpart to the despair and loneliness that replaces the love between Cohen and her fiancé. Their battles with prescription drugs, alcoholic rages, and physical abuse are recounted, offering a poignant and unvarnished look at a complicated relationship in a complicated land.

"The officers of St. Petersburg's anticorruption task force were ridiculously underpaid, if they were paid at all. To make ends meet, or even overlap, some guys developed the habit of confiscating items from crime scenes. Evidence. . . . The short story is that, instead of a Tiffany box, my ring came wrapped in a tiny Ziploc bag, the kind the dealers use when selling pot or crack. It had slipped quite easily off the whore's rigid finger and onto my shaky one."—excerpt from Lying Together

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.

For more information from Jennifer Cohen's own Web site, click on www.lying

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Lying Together is a montage of Russian church steeples and bedsheets

September 2004
LC: 2004005255 PN
214 pp. 6 x 9

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Cloth $22.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-20100-5
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Updated August 22, 2011

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