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Death of a Poetby Irma Kudrova
"Kudrova's book is on its own terms a gripping and psychologically plausible version of Tsvetaeva's terrible last years. Above all, its appeal lies in the voices of those who met Tsvetaeva, however fleetingly, and recorded their own impressions of her: shabby and prematurely aged, but immediately remarkable. Desperate, self-pitying, and with flashes of unpredictable rage, she was also courageous and independent indeed, too much so for her own good." Catriona Kelly, The Times Literary Supplement (read the entire Times Literary Supplement review)
Synopses & Reviews
A gripping narrative of the persecution of one of Russian literature's brightest poets during the Stalin era. The Death of a Poet is a harrowing account of how the forces of fate combined to destroy the life of one of twentieth-century Russian literature's most talented and esteemed poets during the bloodiest period of Stalin's regime.
In 1937, at the height of her creative powers and living comfortably in exile in Paris, Marina Tsvetaeva made the fateful decision to follow her husband, Sergei Efron, back to Moscow. Soon after their reunion, both Alya, their daughter, and Efron were arrested for "anti-Soviet activity." Cast onto the street and living in fear that her own arrest was imminent, the poet who once stood at the pinnacle of Russian letters descended into a living hell, compounded by official persecution, the indifference of peers, and finally, the beginning of World War II and Nazi air raids over Moscow.
Incorporating unprecedented access to KGB records, Irma Kudrova has recreated the final days of the poet, examining several theories of the events that culminated in Tsvetaeva's suicide at the age of forty-nine. The Death of a Poet is both a tribute and indictment, and a moving chronicle of the struggle of a great mind to endure.
"[A] compelling account of individual anguish shrouded in national tragedy." The New York Times Book Review
"Kudrova's narrative is consistently gripping and exudes an aura of relentless tragedy....[A] heartbreaking narrative." Publishers Weekly
"A gripping account of the final months of the Russian poet....A grim reminder that tyrants have myriad ways to strangle dissent." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Irma Kudrova is a graduate of Leningrad University and a former editor of the journals Zvezda and Iskusstvo. One of the world's leading specialists on Marina Tsvetaeva's life and work, Kudrova has lectured at universities around the world and published two other books about Tsvetaeva since The Death of a Poet was first published to great acclaim in Russia in 1995.
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