Books by Olga Andreyev Carlisle

FAR FROM RUSSIA by Olga Andreyev Carlisle
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 2000

"culturally rich. Many readers will hope for a sequel."
The Russian-French-American painter and writer (Voices in the Snow, not reviewed, etc.) sketches her life and extensive Read full book review >
THE IDEALISTS by Henry Carlisle
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 24, 1999

An intelligent retelling of one of Russia's missed chances—to install a socialist rather than a communist government to succeed the Tsar in 1918—from a veteran writing duo. The story, based on Olga Carlisle's own family's experiences, alternates between awkward (but mercifully brief) commentary on the actual historical events, as narrated by daughter Marina Nevsky, and accounts of the Nevskys" role in these events. All begins in Paris of 1909: Marina, age nine, is the only child of Anna and Vasily Nevsky, the leader of the Socialist Revolutionary Party (SR); because of their politics, the family is living in exile. Vasily, now convinced that the revolution should be nonviolent, refuses to allow the assassination of a traitor, then moves his family to their villa in Italy. There, while Vasily refines his political message, the family entertains Max Gorky (Marina's godfather) and rescues from a sinking yacht the treacherous dancer Tamara Sermus, who will later betray them repeatedly. Marina initially identifies with the prevailing family politics and falls in love with Dmitry, her father's devoted disciple. But in 1917, when rioting breaks out in Petrograd and the Nevskys return to Russia confident that the SR's time has finally come, Marina discovers that her hopes are unrealistic. The SR does hold the majority, but the high-minded Vasily is soon out-maneuvered by Lenin and the Bolsheviks. After flights to the countryside, plus betrayals that bring them all back to Moscow and hurl Marino and her mother into the Lubyanka prison, the three, with Gorky's help, are allowed to return to exile. There, Vasily, at last understanding the brutal realities of the Bolshevik revolution, warns to no avail of the lasting consequences for Russia. Well-intentioned and well-written, but without the dramatic sweep and tension that would make this horrendous and tragic tale truly memorable. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: March 30, 1993

Carlisle (Island in Time, 1980, etc.), granddaughter of dramatist Leonid Andreyev and the child of Russian ÇmigrÇs, played a part during the Sixties in having Solzhenitsyn's The First Circle and then The Gulag Archipelago see light in the West. For this, she was soon reviled by both Solzhenitsyn (the feud is addressed in her 1978 defense, Solzhenitsyn and the Secret Circle) and the Soviet government, which refused to allow her back into the country for 20 years. With glasnost, however, Carlisle's circumstances changed, and in two separate trips, in 1989 and 1990, she was able to return to Russia to see family and literary associates. Though heavily larded with extracts from her previous books, this account of those journeys gives a picture of what she found: a nation and culture frightened, giddy with the buried art of the past, balefully anti-Semitic, and utterly tapped-out. Carlisle spends too little time, though, with reportage—favoring instead rehashes of literary history and anecdotes about Pasternak, Akhmatava, and Sinyavsky, as well the taking of as ever-ready opportunities to slam at her enemy Solzhenitsyn as the malign force behind current Slavophile/fascistic tendencies. Ill-organized, self-absorbed, self-congratulatory—and a lot less newsy than might justifiably have been expected from someone as intimately connected and knowledgeable. Read full book review >