- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
The House by the Dvina: A Russian Childhood Paperback – 4 Feb 2010
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"An exceptionally moving and beautiful account" (Sunday Telegraph)
"There is no other autobiography quite like it" (Contemporary Review)
A compelling account of life in Russia before, during and immediately after the RevolutionSee all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
That said, the story is quite rivetting and relates in considerable detail the history of her mother's marriage with a Russian from a privileged background whose family made their money in the timber business centered around Archangel in the far North. Cleverly she includes some excellent stories about her Russian grand-parents but most of the tale is told through the eyes of a pre-teenage girl - and therefore those who wish to know more about, say, the Russian catastrophe of Tannenberg at the very beginning of hostilities in August 1914 would do well to turn to their history books or Wikipaedia ! There is much instead about the changing seasons, social custom, ceremonies at church or school, children's games, and food, including food preparation. It would not be too outlandish to say the book feeds one on a diet of nostalgia for the good old days prior to the 1917 revolution.
The last fifty pages certainly cover the horrors of a disintegrating society torn by civil war and how it effected life for her and her family. It becomes a harrowing tale of violence and lawlessness where by no means everyone escapes with their life. Nevertheless after sundry adventures, together with her mother and younger brother, she lives to tell the tale - sixty years later.
She was 13 when the Revolution began, and simply but movingly describes the gradual dissolution of her lifestyle. She, her Mother and Brother managed to escape to Scotland in 1923 - and there the book ends.
She gives us her family background in loving - and fascinating - detail; she tells us many anecdotes, and describes vividly the Russian way of life, as well as the bitterly cold winters.
I found that I couldn't put the book down. I know that I will read and re-read it with great pleasure.
While the basic history of the Russian revolution is familiar, what makes this account so compelling is that it is so very personal, focusing on one family's experience. Fascinating too is that this is set in Archangel - a remote far northern town about which less is written.
Fraser writes with immense warmth and detail, recalling the traditional foods and ceremonies of a bygone age. Off the page leaps a world filled with troikas, wolves, frozen rivers, ice breakers, Orthodox iconography, mushroom pickers, wet nurses, balalaikas and long, arduous journeys. Fraser writes with a childlike acceptance of all that happened around her, but some of the tales she has to tell are truly amazing, including her Grandmother's epic journey to plead with the Tsar for her husband; her Scottish mother's relatively simple decision to marry a Russian man and move to a country completely alien to her; and the fates of her various relatives once the 1920s begin.
This is a compelling read and as non-fiction is not racy or over-dramatised. Fraser brings to life a world gone forever and does so with genuine love for her native land. Hers was an extraordinary childhood and hers a valuable record of an astonishing era in history. I really recommend this book and not just to all those with an interest in history: this holds its own as a really poignant family saga.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews