Fantastic book by Andrea Lee that I’ve been reading on the metro lately. She paints a vivid picture of Soviet Russia as experienced in the 1970s as a student in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Black market denim, suffering artists, KGB spies, lines at grocery stores, gray winter city landscapes, and beautiful vignettes of the varied Russian friends she met. A lot has changed since then, but in many ways things are just the same.
Here’s a lovely quote from one of her journal entries:
“Tied to Russia by no claims of blood or tradition, I still felt, while very young, an obscure attraction to this country that I knew only from its violent, highly colored folklore; its music, through which ran a similar vein of extravagance; and the dark political comments of adults. It seemed to me to be a mysterious counterweight to the known world of America – a country, like the land at the back of the north wind, in which life ran backward and the fantastic was commonplace.” -Andrea Lee
The beautiful fairy tale painting above is stolen from THIS website.