An oral history of three generations of Russian emigrÉs, collected by Glenny (twice chairman of the Translators'...


THE OTHER RUSSIA: The Experience of Exile

An oral history of three generations of Russian emigrÉs, collected by Glenny (twice chairman of the Translators' Association) and Stone (Hitler, 1980, etc.). The authors begin with their most exciting tale--that of oceanographer Slava Kurilov's 1975 bid for freedom, when he leapt into the Pacific from the deck of a cruise ship and spent two days and three nights swimming to the Philippines. The balance of the reminiscences are divided into three historical periods--1900-1921, 1922-1945, 1946-1986. We meet Jews fleeing pogroms; Christians running from the Reds; aristocrats, bourgeoisie, and intellectuals escaping the Bolsheviks; peasants trying to outrun famine; and dozens of others fleeing Stalin, the Germans, civil war, world war, Khrushchev, Brezhnev. The list seems endless, yet the recollections of these emigrÉs are filled with memorable moments: the Christian aristocrat who responded to the 1905 pogroms by launching an international appeal to restore the property and fortunes of his Jewish neighbors; the middle-class woman who kept her family fed during the Revolution by trading directly with the peasants--her husband's underwear for food; the Jews who overcame humiliation, poverty, and an enormous bureaucracy to emigrate to Israel. Most touching of all is the ambivalence of the emigrÉs themselves--what do you do when you love your homeland but hate what your homeland has become? The voices in oral histories often tend to sound alike, and those here are no exception. Still, the poignant stories let us feel their tellers' anguish as they prepare to leave their homeland, and to share their relief when they are safe at last.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1990


Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1990