KYRA: Reminiscences of a Girlhood in Soviet Russia by Kyra Karadja

KYRA: Reminiscences of a Girlhood in Soviet Russia

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This reconstruction of the pseudonymous author's diaries of her adolescence in Russia reads like a novel. It opens in the idyllic pre-war summer of 1914, when the author was a little girl on her father's estate outside St. Petersburg, and portrays with apparent verisimilitude the state of mind of a young person just coming to awareness both of herself and the mad world into which she had been plunged. In 1917 she had never heard the word ""revolution""; soon it had her in exile in Georgia (and later, Armenia); by 1924, revolution was something one accepted along with poverty, executions, and a constant subliminal state of fear--life had to go on. Kyra's life went on with a kind of impassioned vengeance born at least partly of despair, a long string of infatuations and semi-love affairs, usually with tortured young men unable to reciprocate her feelings (and who were sometimes subsequently arrested or shot), until she was nearly arrested following a raid on an opium den. Then, as always, the author was relatively lucky: the Soviets never physically harmed her or her family (though her father was reduced to a shoemaker before his death), she and her sister had the money and the means to get out before the Stalinist terror began in earnest. . . . A youthful and empathic coda to the Revolution.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Morrow