Tania: Memories of a Lost World

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this memoir, the author recreates her young years in the ``lost world'' of an Eastern Europe between two world wars, opening when she and her brother Paul were taken from St. Petersburg by their father, Ioann von Benckendorff, to live with him on his estate in the Estonian countryside. Loyal to the tsar, he was to die in the Russian Revolution and the children left to the care of relatives and their Irish nurse. Their mother, Moura, who chose to remain in Russia, emerges as a manipulative woman, even though Alexander discusses her affectionately and uncritically. Planning to desert her family to take up with a British agent, who then jilted her, Moura became the lover of Maxim Gorky and, later in London, of H. G. Wells. The author has fond memories of a summer spent in Sorrento with Gorky, and of the notes he wrote her, which are reprinted here. The book ends with accounts of the Alexander's emigration to England, her career in publishing and domestic life as a wife, mother and grandmother. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Library Journal
After fleeing revolutionary Russia, Alexander's family relocated to an Estonian estate. The author writes movingly of growing up there during the 1920s and early 1930s. Interesting characters abounda beloved Irish governess, her father who was brutally murdered by peasants, and her mother, a restless, absent sort who had affairs with Maxim Gorky, H.G. Wells, et al. As nostalgia, this is a well-written, sensitive piece, despite the fact that Alexander was never personally near the center of that pivotal era. She has lived now for many years in England. Of the recent flurry of Russian emigre memoirs, this is one of the least opinionated and most informative. Mark R. Yerburgh, Trinity Coll. Lib., Burlington, Vt.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780917561559
  • Publisher: Adler & Adler Publishers, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/1988
  • Edition description: 1st U.S. ed
  • Pages: 168

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