A Siberian romance between Vasily, the son of a widowed political exile, and Lubasha, a lovely primitive who has grown up in the forest knowing only her mad mother, driven from the village years before, and the ancient holy man who has adopted them. The villains are of course the ignorant, superstitious peasants of Barguzin, whether seen through the eyes of Vasfly's embittered mother who is rejected as an outsider, by the holy man who long ago turned away from human cruelty, or by Lubasha herself who is feared as a witch. And Lubasha's forest idyll is certainly seductive as she works beside old Trofim to build a snug new house, enjoys a comfy self-sufficiency based on a vegetable garden, wild honey and her little goats, and plays with her gentle pair of tame bears, Misha and Masha. Who could blame Vastly for risking death at the hands of the villagers to see her, and for refusing to return with his mother to St. Petersburg, choosing instead to run off with Lubasha deep in the taiga. A dreamlike flight from a bleak world dominated by ignorance and repression. . . atmospheric, polished escapism.