I read a book recently called Farewell: The Greatest Spy Story of the Twentieth Century by Sergei Kostin and Eric Raynaud. It was really, really good, as is the excellent film that is loosely based on it (L’affaire Farewell). The book was translated from French and unfortunately, the translation leaves a bit to be desired in certain sections, but overall it is very interesting.
One of the main things I remember from this book was the KGB slang I learned. (Yes, there is such a thing as KGB slang.) The term I learned was мокрое дело (mokroe delo), which translates to “wet affair” – i.e. an assassination. (If I’m not mistaken, this term exists in English, too.) I’m not sure what this says about me as a person that one of my favorite aspects of the book was learning this slang. It probably just means that I am way too obsessed with spies and Russia, but we already knew that, right?
Oh, and if you haven’t seen it, you definitely should watch L’affaire Farewell. It’s available on DVD with English subtitles and is amazing because Emir Kusturica is in it. Emir Kusturica is one of my favorite filmmakers and actors ever. And now that I’m thinking of him, I am reminded of the fact that he speaks Serbian and I want to speak Serbian so badly and so I’m going to publish this blog entry and go study random Serbian words.