Glagoslav Publications Presents “The Riven Heart of Moscow,” the Novel by Mikhail Osorgin, in the English Translation of Svetlana Payne
In 1914, the Russian Empire is at its peak of affluence. The future looks bright, and spring brings new promise with the migrating swallows heralding summer. Ivan Alexandrovich, internationally renowned professor of ornithology, lives with his granddaughter Tanyusha, an aspiring concert pianist, in their family villa in Sivtsev Vrazhek, a little lane in central Moscow. They hold weekly musical soirées, and entertain their friends ― dashing cadets, scientists, lawyers, and musicians. However, tectonic shifts are just around the corner and the ensuing catastrophic crisis will rip apart not only Russia, but also Europe and the entire world. The First World War, the Revolution of 1917, the fratricidal civil war in Russia, and the subsequent rise of the Red Terror will destroy many of the things previously considered certain and eternal. There will be death, hunger and loss, betrayal of and by friends, courageous ― if futile ― attempts to intercede on behalf of the victims. Yet despite the prevailing cruelty and wickedness, common humanity will still strive to survive and shine. This is a story of a family living through impossible trials, of a society torn apart, and of the survival of the human spirit against all odds.
About The Author:
Mikhail Andreyevich Osorgin (real surname Ilyin) was born in 1878 in the city of Perm in the Urals to a family of intelligentsia. His father a was lawyer while his mother, who spoke several languages and had received a good education from a school in Warsaw, dedicated her life to the family and the children. The family’s life was intense, and their cultural interests numerous and varied. They shared a typical set of values adhered to by the educated classes in provincial Russia at the time: the precedence of social interests over private, and an acute sense of justice.
Osorgin’s first publication was a tiny piece in the local newspaper, written in 1897 when he still a schoolboy, on the occasion of the death of his form teacher. Having received his degree from Moscow State University, he briefly worked as a barrister. It was then that he became involved with the party of Socialist Revolutionaries, a popular organisation at the time, rather militant in its methodology and a real rival to the Bolsheviks. However, he never made a career in the party, and shunned internal squabbles and rigid party discipline.
During the 1930s he spent much of his time in the village of Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, in the province of Essonne, where he owned a cottage. Here he rejected urban civilisation, promoting a lifestyle that was closer to nature. He stayed in France during the German occupation and died in 1942 in the village of Chabris, where he and his wife had escaped as refugees. Living on the border of the Free Zone, he had been actively publishing anti-Nazi pamphlets until the very end.
About The Translator:
Sveta Payne (aka Svetlana Dubovitskaya) was born in Ternopol (as it was called at the time when all toponymics were only spelled in Russian, nowadays it is Ternopil), on the western rim of the Soviet Union, in 1961. The territorial volatility of the region, Galicia, gave her a relatively cosmopolitan view of the world. She studied at the University of Lvov/Lviv, graduating with honours in philology, teaching foreign languages, and translation. The love of both spoken and written word led her to gain a command of seven languages. Sveta is now mainly based in London, and divides her residence between the UK and the south of France.
Title: The Riven Heart of Moscow
Author: Mikhail Osorgin
Translator: Svetlana Payne
Publisher: Glagoslav Publications
ISBN: 9781804840733, 9781804840740, 9781804840757
Extent: 496 pages
Price: €25.99 (PB), €29.99 (HB), €9.99 (e-book)
Format: paperback, hardback, e-book
Review copies are available upon request.