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Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Moving and Sad Story. Lina and Serge by Simon Morrison

Lina and Serge is a sympathetic, moving and sensitive portrait of the great composer's  long-suffering wife.

It is an incredibly sad story,  A beautiful and ambitious opera singer who spoke five languages, Lina Prokofiev had a Spanish and Russian heritage, and she was brought up in Brooklyn.  While working for cultured Russians, she met the brilliant composer.  They had a troubled and distant relationship, and Serge, who was also a bit of a womaniser, didn't want to get married.  However, they married when Lina became pregant.  It was her biggest mistake.

While living in Paris, they were courted by important Russians from the new Soviet government, who promised them both spectacular careers.  Serge enjoyed great success, and they were even able to travel overseas.  Lina, a socialite used to wearing beautiful clothes, even hiring the best dressmaker.  However, as the purges began and Serge's music started to be banned, the couple found that they lived in a 'fog of fear'.

Their marriage began to unravel....I want you to read this book, so I won't tell the whole story.  However, Lina was arrested and spent eight years in the gulag, where she suffered torture and beatings.  Morrison doesn't shy away from describing the horrors of the gulags, and gives a graphic account of the criminal regime.  It most certainly was an 'evil regime' as Ronald Reagan said.

This is worth reading, and it's a good book about a brave, likeable and resilient woman.

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