“Tea in the Crimea,” a novel by David Kopf

 “Yesterday, President Vladimir Putin authorized the use of Russian troops in Ukraine in defiance of American and international warnings against Russia intervention in Ukraine. By the end of the day, unmarked Russian forces and pro-Russian Ukrainians took control of large parts of Crimea, igniting an international crisis.” Adam Chandler, Russia Prepares for Occupation After Winning Control of Crimea, The Wire, News from the Atlantic (March 2, 2014).

Image credit:  Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa). Used pursuant to Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Image credit: Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa). Used pursuant to Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.


I have written before about my cousin George, the fellow who retired from the State Department and then wrote a book about our grandmother. Today, I am pleased to write about his much, much younger brother, David. Cousin David has been an editor and a journalist during his relatively short adult life. Like his brother George, David is a gifted writer.

David has just completed his first novel entitled Tea in the Crimea. In my hopelessly biased opinion, it is excellent.

He began the novel in March of this year with the Russian invasion. According to David, the novel “tells the story of how everyday people react when 30,000 Russian soldiers pretending not to be 30,000 Russian soldiers invade their country.”  Like his father, David has a wry sense of humor. Tea in the Crimea is the “unfolding story of everyone’s favorite Black Sea peninsula.”

Interestingly, the book is published by David using the internet and in a serial form. You can access the piece and the hyperlinked table of contents here. The novel is entirely free. In an e-mail, David explained, “My whole editorial career — 22 years so far — I stuck to the old Samuel Johnson line about writing for money*, but I decided to take a chance on myself. I thought, ‘If not now, when? Get writing on spec, big dummy.’ . . . It feels great.”


Congratulations David!


*“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” The Samuel Johnson Sound Bite Page, No. 203.

PS I am far older than David. Until the death of his father, my Uncle George (revered by me despite time and distance), I had not seen David since he was a small boy. The California funeral gave me the opportunity to reconnect with David and also to meet his beautiful family.

4 responses

  1. Geopolitically, annexation of Crimea made sense. Sevastopol is Mother Russia’s only warm-water port, and if she is to remain as a world power, she needs it. Putin was perfectly happy to have it in the hands of a client state, but even a prospect of EU membership for Ukraine forced his hand. (As some may recall, as part of the deal over the break-up of the Soviet Union, we agreed not to extend EU or NATO borders that far east, and Ukraine gave up its nukes.) Putin rightly calculated that no one was crazy enough to threaten nuclear war over it, but the takeover had to be subtle. Comically subtle.

    DK: “However, Viktor was old enough to not believe everything he was told — or read. Propaganda was the lifeblood of Russian politics, whether Soviet-era, or now in the Federation. Add to that a career in the army, and Viktor’s bullshit detector was a well-calibrated instrument at this point.”

    Funny, that’s exactly how I feel whenever I read an appellate opinion. Problem is, the panels keep burying the meter….

    It’s reminiscent of ‘Nam. “What ARE we doing here, anyway?” Definitely top-shelf prose. My kind of sarcasm. It’s got potential.

  2. Absolutely humbled by these kind words — thank you! I hope people enjoy the story as much I enjoyed writing it. I’ll be going back through the blog pages, proofing, editing, tweaking and worrying things to death, because I. Just. Can’t. Leave. Things. Alone.

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