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Isolde
Isolde | Irina Odoevt?s?eva
3 posts | 3 read | 2 to read
The first English translation of a pioneering Russian writer: a hypnotically dark classic of love, deceit and wayward youth in Paris Disaffected and restless, teenage siblings Liza and Nikolai are left to their own devices in Biarritz by their distant mother. When an English boy, Cromwell, sees Liza alone on a beach, he imagines she is the romantic beauty Isolde. Infatuated, he falls in with their group of Russian migrs, introducing them to the escapist pleasures of nightlife, of champagne dinners and dancing in jazz bars. Initially dazzled, Liza feels a growing sense of isolation and anxiety as the youths world closes in on itself and their darker drives begin to stir. Haunted by feverish memories of Russia, she plots to return to the homeland she hardly remembers. Deemed scandalous on first publication for its unflinching depiction of nascent sexuality and wayward adolescence, Isolde is a startlingly fresh, disturbing portrait of a lost generation of Russian exiles, now in English for the first time. Irina Odoevtseva was a Russian novelist, poet, translator and memoirist. Born in 1895 in Riga, she fled Russia in 1922 and, after a brief period in Berlin, settled in Paris with her husband Georgy Ivanov. There Odoevtseva published short fiction and several successful novels. Later, she had great success with her memoirs On the Banks of the Neva (1967) and On the Banks of the Seine (1983). She returned to Russia in 1987 at the age of ninety-one to a rapturous reception.
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DreeMorris
Isolde | Irina Odoevt?s?eva
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Pickpick

This 1929 novel is the first to appear in English. Liza (14) and her brother Nikolai (16) and their mother Natasha are Russian exiles in France. They seem hedonistic (a la Bonjour Tristesse), but really they are lonely, a burden to their mother who abandons them in Paris. Liza desperately wants and needs her mother‘s love. Kolya and Andrei make desperate plans. #intranslation #WIT #russianlit

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jillrhudy
Isolde | Irina Odoevt?s?eva
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This beauty is Irina Odoevtseva, Russian expat to Paris following the Revolution. I just finished her novel Isolde (1929). I‘ve long wished to read more Russian female authors. Like the main character in “Isolde,” Paris was eclipsed in Irina‘s romantic imagination by the beautiful, vast, free Russia of her childhood, and her best known work is “On the Banks of the Neva.” She returned to her homeland a celebrity in 1987, under glasnost.

Ruthiella She looks like Helen Mirren (whose father was Russian) in that picture! 2mo
batsy I read Isolde quite recently. Such a fab pic of the author! 2mo
jillrhudy @Ruthiella she does! 2mo
jillrhudy @batsy I can‘t imagine looking like that and being a genius. Although as you can tell from Isolde, men could be a real problem. 2mo
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batsy
Isolde | Irina Odoevt?s?eva
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Mehso-so

The Litsy blurb gives a good summary of this 1929 Russian novel, newly translated into English (by Bryan Karetnyk & Irina Steinberg). A grim portrayal of the waywardness, excess, & decadence of the Russian white émigrés in Europe. Parental neglect, sexuality, & rootlessness make for an interesting book, but while I typically love gloom & doom, I found the writing (or translation, or both) wanting. It lacks psychological depth & acuity. #netgalley

LeahBergen Too bad. I like the cover. 😆 3mo
batsy @LeahBergen Me too! 😁 3mo
Moray_Reads That's a shame, Pushkin Press titles are always so pretty too! 3mo
batsy @Moray_Reads I know! Wanted to love it as much as I do the cover but somehow it just didn't quite work for me. 3mo
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