Memories from Moscow to the Black Sea by Teffi
Trade paperback format. A new translation by Robert & Elizabeth Chandler, Anne Marie Jackson, and Irina Steinberg. Introduction by Edythe Haber.
WINNER OF THE 2018 READ RUSSIA PRIZE AND THE PUSHKIN HOUSE BEST BOOK IN TRANSLATION IN 2017
Considered Teffi’s single greatest work, Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea is a deeply personal account of the author’s last months in Russia and Ukraine, suffused with her acute awareness of the political currents churning around her, many of which have now resurfaced.
In 1918, in the immediate aftermath of the Russian Revolution, Teffi, whose stories and journalism had made her a celebrity in Moscow, was invited to read from her work in Ukraine. She accepted the invitation eagerly, though she had every intention of returning home. As it happened, her trip ended four years later in Paris, where she would spend the rest of her life in exile.
None of this was foreseeable when she arrived in German-occupied Kiev to discover a hotbed of artistic energy and experimentation. When Kiev fell several months later to Ukrainian nationalists, Teffi fled south to Odessa, then on to the port of Novorossiysk, from which she embarked at last for Constantinople.
Danger and death threaten throughout Memories, even as the book displays the brilliant style, keen eye, comic gift, and deep feeling that have made Teffi one of the most beloved of twentieth-century Russian writers.
Light, witty and elegiac all at once.
—John Gray, The Guardian
Despite the backdrop of terror, war, death and loss, Teffi’s world becomes somewhere we do not want to leave…Teffi, somehow, makes some of the bleakest years of Russian history brighter; the country shrinks to the size of a village in which its occupants are a community, living, working together and helping each other.
—Claire Kohda Hazelton, The Guardian