Fluently translated by several hands and introduced by Teffi’s biographer, Edythe Haber, these are priceless anecdotes and...

READ REVIEW

MEMORIES

FROM MOSCOW TO THE BLACK SEA

Poignant reflections of a beloved Russian humorist as she fled her homeland on the eve of Bolshevik victory.

As more of the work of Russian poet, playwright, and short story author Teffi (the nom de plume of Nadezhda Aleksandrovna Lokhvitskaya, 1872-1952) is translated, her English-language fans will certainly increase, as she is a delightful stylist, dialogist, and observer of her era. Teffi was known for her wry poetry and feuilletons published in the Russian reviews of the first decade of the 20th century (Satirikon, Russian Word), yet her sympathy toward the Bolsheviks cooled when the magazine she wrote for, New Life, became a mere party organ; she then moved to Moscow. In her subsequent travels, she did not glean that fate was favoring the Bolshevik cause. As she first fled an increasingly intolerable existence in Petrograd, she moved with the rumors of safe areas still held by the “whites,” Ukraine and the Black Sea. The stages of her journey during this precarious time make up these amusing and affecting “memories,” first published in installments between 1928 and 1930 in a Russian-language newspaper in Paris, where she finally located permanently. The work chronicles her flight from Moscow and subsequent chaotic and perilous travels to Kiev and Odessa. She was first harnessed to a Ukrainian Jewish “impresario” named Gooskin, who helped mitigate her transfer (along with other motley characters) to the Ukrainian border, and then she traveled by ship from Odessa to Novorossiysk, where all kinds of fleeing types had washed up. Finally, she arrived in Yekaterinodor, where she had agreed to do two nights of readings. Throughout, the author’s characterizations are precise and even ruthless, and she captures the tense mood of paranoia and sorrow of the refugee.

Fluently translated by several hands and introduced by Teffi’s biographer, Edythe Haber, these are priceless anecdotes and beautiful portraits of friends and acquaintances lost forever.

Pub Date: May 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59017-952-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: New York Review Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more