Sofia Petrovna, by Lydia Chukovskaya, translated by Aline Worth

Reminds me of what I have read about Osip and Nadezhda Mandelstam. Helen Dunmore has written along these lines as well. Thanks for posting.

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

I bought Sofia Petrovna after reading Judith Armstrong’s article ‘Hidden Women of History: Lydia Chukovskaya, editor, writer, heroic friend’ in The Guardian, and I’ve read it now for the 1965 Club hosted by Stuck in a Book and Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings.  Although the novella is a rare – possibly unique – example of fiction written about Stalin’s Great Purge (1936-1938) when it was actually happening, it was of course not published at the time.  Chukovskaya (1907-1996) kept it hidden until after Krushchev’s Thaw in 1956 when the story was first circulated in Samizdat (manuscript form). Official publication faltered, however, in 1963 when it was decided that the book contained ‘ideological distortions’.  An unauthorised copy in English was published in Paris in 1965 (which makes the book eligible for the 1965 club) but there were changes made without the author’s permission and the title The Deserted House was absurd, given…

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