Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from May 15 to 20, 2016
Description: Teffi was a famous Russian writer in the early 1900's, forced to flee her country. And this is the story of her eventful flight, which is newly translated by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler, Anne Marie Jackson and Irina Steinberg.
Unrest and anxiety in Moscow as the Bolsheviks gather, but a 'reading tour' of Ukraine offers Teffi and other artists a way out. Time to take the train.. Reader Tracy-Ann Oberman
On the train to Kiev, away from the Bolsheviks. And Gooskin the indefatigable organiser gets the author and others out of various scrapes.
Arrival in Kiev, with its sunny days and familiar faces, but a scourge of White Russians is approaching. When will Petlyura get here?
On to Odessa, where the author encounters General Grishin-Almazov, sniffer-outer of local bandits, who 'loved literature and theatre'. And wasn't he once an actor?
Sliding down the map, far from Moscow.. the author ends up in Novorossiisk.. where's that? Then she thinks about places even further afield, as the homeland 'slips away from us'.
The wonderful thing about Radio 4 is the gift of tasting new books and occasionally one comes across a delight that must be owned in the paper; Memories is such a one. The language, terror of fleeing war, and the relevance to contemporary times cannot be overlooked. Heartily recommended.
3* Subtly Worded