In this sequel to The Revolution of Marina M., young poet Marina Makarova finds herself alone amid the devastation of the Russian Civil War. Pregnant and adrift, forced to rely on her own resourcefulness to find a place to wait out the birth of her child and eventually make her way back to her native city, Petrograd, Marina evolves as a poet and a woman of sensibility and substance hardly imaginable at the beginning of her transformative odyssey.
We are plunged back into a world of furious beauty, sprawling, majestic landscapes, and erotically charged and traumatic encounters, with life and love hanging in the balance ... It is clear that Fitch, like her heroine, is fond of 'Peter’s creation,' as Russia’s foremost poet, Alexander Pushkin, called St. Petersburg; her depictions of it are loving and lavish. Those who enjoyed the seductive, sexually explicit relationship between Marina and the horrifying Arkady von Princip, from the previous volume, will find more of them here ... By showing us Marina’s visits to various St. Petersburg literary salons, Fitch beautifully captures the fragility of that world and its cast of characters ... Readers of Varlam Shalamov’s Kolyma Stories, which capture the dehumanization of the Soviet gulag, will find similar messages there.
Fitch’s transporting sequel to The Revolution of Marina M. (2017) is even better than the first book. Ceaselessly entertaining through its lengthy page count ... Marina narrates her dramatic life with striking visual detail ... Awash with emotion and poetic imagery that aptly reflect Marina’s changing circumstances, Fitch’s tale channels the woman’s vibrant spirit throughout. Historical-fiction fans should devour this.
Despite the travails, our heroine reflects the genius of the Silver Age poets. Their works, personalities, and disagreements are examined as if through a jeweler's loupe. The story peaks when the Soviet New Economic Policy challenges Marina's faith to the fullest. Can she remain a revolutionist? ... Like a 19th-century avatar, Fitch gives a 360-degree view of the suffering caused by the Bolsheviks' consolidation of power and tells a long and sweeping story without wasting a word.