This is an important book, and one that should be read for the authoritative picture it gives of life within the Soviet state, through the years of revolution. In fiction form, this parallels much of the author's autobiographical My Lives in Russia published in 1944, and heralded them as a disturbing record of twelve young-adult years, of experiencing the high hopes and subsequent despairs those years imposed on idealistic young Russians. (It is, incidentally, a book that deserves rereading, today.) Now in this novel, the author (Mrs. Louis Fischer) gives the panorama of approximately the same span of years, as they affected the Nazarovs, a more or less typical Russian middleclass family, with the elders stripped of everything that had spelled security to them; the younger members exultant, fanatical, antagonistic, as the case might be. But the general impression left is of cooperation, albeit against terrific odds as their very backgrounds counted against them in the proletarian upsurge, no matter what their tenets of faith. For here, in a close-up series of portraits, of individual and group relationships, one gets a story of complete uprooting of old ways, of deprivation, of crowding and hunger and poverty, all made bearable because of the high hopes of where sacrifice would lead. And then the years of fear and disillusionment, often resisted to the bitter end, of purges, of reigns of terror, of lost identities, of wrecked faith and hope. Natasha is, perhaps, the most completely realized character; she stood out longest against the recognition of the betrayal of faith, the crack in her own armor. An unusual approach and a story with drama, with emotional values, with romance. Perhaps it will carry conviction as to the inner conflicts of the Russian people to many who refuse to read the average journalistic presentation.