All in the family: a new historical novel on Russia during the first half of the 20th century

The Tolstoy tradition of broad canvas novels dealing with epic events presented from the perspective of a given family has not died out, whatever else happens in literature of our day. The recently published Mosaic of My Life in English and its counterpart in Russian, Мозаика моей жизни belongs to precisely this genre.

The back cover sets out a concise argument for the book’s intrigue:

The Mosaic of My Life is the author’s second novel. The original Russian language edition was published in 2019. The novel has been nominated for three national literary awards in Russia which will be adjudicated in the autumn of 2020.

The Mosaic of My Life covers a broad swathe of Russian history from the still ‘normal’ living conditions at the turn of the 20th century through World War I and the 1917 Revolution, the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War, to the New Economic Policy and semi-return to a market economy followed by the Great Terror, World War II and the immediate post war years. The story is based on reminiscences of people who lived through this complex historical period and, in their own words, explain their various decisions to stay or emigrate. The narrative takes the reader through several social strata from workers to high bourgeoisie, from inside the director’s box at the Bolshoi Theater to inside solitary confinement cells of political prisoners awaiting interrogation and likely execution.”

The Look Inside function on the web page of the English edition allows for browsing, to sample the narrative style.

The novel is a fine demonstration of how and why some of our best histories are written by non-historians.  I know well. The author, Larisa Zalesova, happens to be my wife.

The books in print format are also in stock from the Amazon global websites, from Barnes and Noble, as well as all other bookstores everywhere upon order.  An e-book version of the Russian edition can be purchased online from the publisher at  (Bookstore: Лариса Залесова). An English e-book will be released shortly.