A Fist Full of Earth

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A Fist Full of Earth

A Fist Full of Earth

By: Pavel Kozhevnikov

About the Book

In this book, there are two intriguing stories, both with Russian influences.

In the first story, the reader is introduced to George Lebedikhin. George lives a very interesting life with many twists and turns, from being a prisoner in the USSR, a prize fighter in New York, a bank robber to a businessman in Hawaii. His life and love story will take you on a ride.

The second story is about a beloved childhood dog based on facts from the author’s life in the Soviet Union after WWII. It inspired the author’s own life and shows the love and gratitude that comes with owning a pet as a child. Both incredible stories will help readers better understand and appreciate the trials and tribulations of life in the Soviet Union under the communist regime.

All that is of true value on this earth nests inside the fist of a strong individual who refuses to give up, perhaps fighting just like a beloved dog through the journey of life, securing one’s rightful place on this earth.


About the Author

Pavel Kozhevnikov is an instructor at Pikes Peak Community College and the University of Colorado. He completed studies at the Uralsk Pedagogical Institute. Pavel is the author of four books, poetry and prose, and has published articles on contemporary Russian life and Russian policy. He has worked in the educational sphere in the U.S.S.R. and the U.S., served as an interpreter for NASA, and instructed Special Forces.

Pavel and his wife Gail reside in Colorado where they enjoy spending time with children and grandchildren.


(2019, Paperback, 106 pages)

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Amazon Customer
Reviewed in the United States on June 22, 2021
Verified Purchase
I have had this book sitting on my nightstand for months waiting for the opportunity to read it. Once I started the first page I could not put it down. The way Mr. Kozhevnikov writes takes me back to the time when I would listen to stories my grandfather would tell me about his youth. Each word so easily flowed to the next and was so captivating. I felt both Pavel's desire for more of the story as well as George's nostalgia for days long gone. I mourned the loss of both Michelle and Mona. I cried to find out about the passing of George; knowing he trusted that his fist fulll of earth would be given to him but his body's inability to hold true along with his spirit. I do not read many books more than once, but this is one that I know I will read time and again. It is also one that will be read to my sons.
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Frank Thoms
Reviewed in the United States on January 15, 2020
Verified Purchase
Through these two stories, Pavel offers the American reader––in his excellent second-language English––a glimpse into the Russian psyche. He's a compassionate man who write compassionately. Americans need to read Russian writers if they want to know these extraordinary people. Politics aside, Americans need to explore our former enemy from the days of the USSR. Pavel offers insights we can learn from––and we should.
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Andreja Zvonkovich
Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2020
Verified Purchase
I love hearing great stories, and about real life experiences. The accounts in this book offer enriching perspectives of two gentlemen from other parts of the world. Human views from a different culture. Thank you for sharing these stories. They would make great short films.
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Kendra Henry
Reviewed in the United States on January 23, 2020
Verified Purchase
I will admit that I am a personal friend of the author and bought the book for that reason. However, I did really enjoyed the book and hope he will write more of his stories.
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Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2020
In the first story, The Russian Hawaiian, Pavel Kozhevnikov writes, "the story of the old man truly carried me away with its extraordinary and colorful picture of the encounter." With a unique and engaging style, Kozhevnikov himself indeed skillfully carries his readers away with his own extraordinary and colorful pictures. With lines such as "We wanted to be happy and we were willing to pay any price for it" and "Grief erased both big and small resentments from my soul, leaving only the good memories," Kozhevinkov weaves compelling stories laden with deep humanity. A gifted storyteller, Kozhevnikov brings a warm authenticity combined with a fresh perspective. Soulful and engaging, A Fist Full of Earth, is readable in less than a day, but lingers longer. Spend some time with Pavel and his Cossack flavor. You won't be disappointed.
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Keith Stampher
Reviewed in the United States on August 5, 2019
For a Russian, Pavel's mastery of conversational english in the telling of two wonderful stories is impressive. It makes me sad that I cannot read his other works in his native tongue. This is a beautifully written little book that provides a look into the importance of one's heritage and how we are all wanderers on earth that sometimes meet a kindred spirit when we least expect it. Thank you for this wonderful duo of heart-warming stories.
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Reviewed in the United States on October 15, 2019
"A Fist Full of Earth” offers, through the first person retelling of two very different stories, a glimpse into the lives and realities of those living in Communist Russia. Readers are invited to share in the incredible struggles and adventures of a Russian expatriate and the innocence of boyhood and loss. While the settings of both stories feel worlds apart, readers are given the opportunity to personally experience very real and raw emotions through the author’s use of beautiful language and carefully chosen details.