Winner of a Pushkin House special subsidiary prize for the best Russian book in translation
A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week
The writer and satirist Teffi was a literary sensation in Russia until war and revolution forced her to leave her country for ever.
Teffi, the pseudonymous writer Nadezhda Alexandrovna Lokhvitskaya, was once favourite of both Nicholas II and Lenin, but later years found her fleeing from post-Revolutionary Russia.
Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea is the journal of that exodus, charting Teffi’s heartbreaking loss of the Moscow she loved to the vast uncertainty of the future. At each step, friends and cities fall under the march of Bolshevik progress, forcing Taffi to endure what was, in effect, an infinite farewell.
Fusing exuberant wit and bitter horror, this is an extraordinary portrayal of what it means to say goodbye, and confirms Teffi as one of the most humane, perceptive observers of her times, and an essential writer for ours.
‘Teffi inimitably captures the chaos and terror of war… Memories might have been relentlessly bleak if it were not for its humour and Teffi’s indestructible positivity.’ – The Guardian
'Wonderfully idiosyncratic, coolly heartfelt and memorable' - William Boyd
'One of the great writers of early 20th Century Russia' - Simon Sebag Montefiore
'A remarkable memoir ...both potent and endearing' - Erica Wagner, New Statesman
'[A] wonderfully idiosyncatic , coolly heartfelt and memorable book.' - The Sunday Times
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Number of pages: 352
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm
Teffi is one of the great writers of early 20th century Russia, from Nicholas II's reign to the Revolution afterwards. Her writing, whether stories or reportage or memoir is witty, elegant, fantastical, yet sharp and acute and playful. Pushkin Press has done literature a service by rediscovering and publishing Teffi's brilliant works Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of 'The Romanovs' Wonderfully idiosyncratic, coolly heartfelt and memorable -- William Boyd Sunday Times Heartbreaking as well as very funny. I wish she were still alive, and I could have met her... I can't recommend her strongly enough -- Nicholas Lezard Guardian Highly readable... she is not afraid to look into the depths of what human beings can do to one another and what happens when civilisation breaks down Financial Times Memories might have been relentlessly bleak if it were not for its humour and Teffi's indestructible positivity... Teffi's world becomes somewhere we do not want to leave Guardian [A] remarkable memoir... perhaps this is the essence of Teffi, the quality that makes her writing both potent and endearing -- Erica Wagner New Statesman Darkly funny... she did write in this very charming, humorous and light way that allowed her to slip in these little satirical points in a way that was acceptable BBC Radio 4 Open Book Pushkin Press deserves our thanks for bringing Teffi to a much wider audience Spectator [Teffi's work is] amazingly modern, as easy to devour as, well, a box of chocolates -- Rachel Cooke Observer I never imagined such a memoir could be possible, especially about the Russian Civil War. Teffi wears her wisdom lightly, observing farce and foible amid the looming tragedy, in this enthralling book -- Antony Beevor Pushkin Press should be applauded for publishing her astonishingly vivid memoir Country Life An astonishing work that... deserves to be turned into a film. It is both a thriller and an unforgettably personal account of one of the worst periods in Russhian history... modern Ukraine could do with some reporters as wise and humane as Teffi Literary Review [Conveys] Teffi's characteristic mixture of precision, comic timing and evasiveness Times Literary Supplement She always finds the funny but never loses sight of the sadness in the madness. Awesome Big Issue [A] piercing memoir... moments of strength not only make up the 'living soul' of the book, but transform a set of recollections into an unputdownable read - and make it, in our present climate, a deeply essential one Asymptote Given the refugee crisis that dominates Europe today, Pushkin Press's publication... could not be timelier... the passage of time has done little to diminish either the pathos of the stories, or the ingenuity of Teffi's prose The National By bringing together Teffi's Memories... and her other autobiographical pieces and reminiscences, collected in Rasputin, the editors present a different Teffi - a chronicler of the tragedy of the Russian revolution The World Today One of Russia's foremost writers and satirists in the early 20th century... Memories is a timely reminder that refugees are not a 21st-century invention The New Internationalist There are shades of Chekhov in the elegant and enthralling prose of this Russian female emigre writer, whose once much-feted work is happily now being rediscovered Bookseller A vividly idiosyncratic personal account of the disintegration - moral, political, strategic - of Tsarist Russia after the Revolution, as alive to the farcical and the ridiculous as it is to the tragic; a bit like what Chekhov might have written if he had lived to experience it -- Michael Frayn I really can't recommend this book highly enough... Teffi's writing is vivid and evocative... I was living the experience alongside her Shiny New Books Fascinating under any circumstances, but... has special poignancy now New Yorker A gifted satirist and social observer -- Eileen Battersby Irish Times Teffi's brilliance at capturing the dark comedy of her milieu should no longer prevent her from being recognized as an important European writer TLS Teffi was not only a great wit and an impeccable stylist, but one of the twentieth century's most perceptive and clear-headed observers PEN Atlas [Teffi] succeeds in conveying the sense of claustrophobia and disorientation that are the refugee condition The New York Times Book Review