RARE EARTH by Mary Lee Grisanti


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A painstaking, heavily messaged novel about the uses of oppression, both in the East and West, by sectors with a stake in the arms race. Here, a Russian dissident struggles in the US to keep aloft the ideals for which her husband died and her son, imprisoned in Russia, is still fighting. Anna Khameneva, widow of a scientist considered a ""traitor"" for proposing to undo his works on nuclear weaponry, has left Russia and her son, Seriozha, as well as her post as full professor of Earth Sciences at Moscow University. In Paris, Anna meets George McDonough, administrative executive of the Naughton Foundation for World Peace, a well-heeled group that gives grants to selected causes and individuals. Now the Foundation is seconding the policies of a hawkish administration in Washington. Anna becomes the Foundation's attractive anti-Communist Exhibit A. But Anna is the author of an anti-Bomb novel about a nuclear winter (there are excerpts throughout). Still, it is the hope of the hawks that Anna can be eased into a simple anti-Communist stance. Also in Paris is George's journalist son Ian (he will eventually become Anna's lover), who is estranged from his father. In the meantime in Russia, Seriozha is incarcerated in a notorious mental hospital--while Anna, now in the States and increasingly under surveillance for her antinuke lectures, is about to face a McCarthy-style Senate investigation. Her meetings with visiting Russians (in the hopes of heating news of her son) are damning. Her apartment will be ransacked by the FBI, and she'll even be sent to prison. The novel ends, though, with the calm after the storm and faint rays of hope--for Anna, Ian and his own family, who've been torn apart by Anna's ordeal, and for Seriozha and his lover. Set mainly in New York, Washington and a Russian outpost, this is a patient, intent narrative with an It Can't Happen Here preachment.

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 1985
Publisher: Doubleday