“Fifty shrewd and moving glimpses into the lives of Soviet writers, composers, and artists caught between the demands of art and politics.”
Fifty portraits in words by this man born in Ukraine when it was part of the Russian Empire, this man with Jewish origins who extraordinarily survived the Shoah, and who walked among Akhmatova, Pasternak, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich and many others “who lived / in times that were hard to bear.”
Fifty poignant poems, written “so that those who did not know will know” and read by this reader as “what happened long ago / becomes current again.”
Fifty intimate portraits that initially seem to be of individual people but soon become apparent as an exceptional, panoramic depiction of an era of art choked by tyranny.
Little did I know that it would become one of my most treasured volumes of Russian literature. I love how clueless we sometimes are of a book’s value until we read it and become acquainted with its soul.