"[Chimes of a Lost Cathedral is] for anyone who's ever dreamed of meeting their heroes, centuries be damned."—Margaret Wappler, Los Angeles Times
"Brilliant...a world of furious beauty, sprawling, majestic landscapes, and erotically charged and traumatic encounters, with life and love hanging in the balance... For the readers who have followed Marina and Fitch on this long, eventful journey, the ending feels satisfying. To Marina, it feels like divine intervention--a signal of the possibility of life and happiness despite everything...Fitch makes the answer clear: Marina is remarkably brave. Her saga should inspire us all to be braver."—Ani Kokobobo, Los Angeles Review of Books
"We first met Fitch's passionate, independent Marina Makarova in The Revolution of Marina M...Fitch's darker, equally compelling sequel tracks Marina's perilous journey from 1919 to 1921...Marina's yearning for freedom propels her to risk everything in the dramatic final scenes."—Jane Ciabattari, BBC.com (10 Smartest Beach Reads of 2019)
"Ceaselessly entertaining...Fitch's transporting sequel to The Revolution of Marina M. is even better than the first book...In this full-blooded feminine epic, Marina narrates her dramatic life with striking visual detail...Awash with emotion and poetic imagery...Fitch's tale channels the woman's vibrant spirit throughout. Historical-fiction fans should devour this."—Sarah Johnson, Booklist, (Starred Review)
"Fitch gives a 360-degree view of the suffering caused by the Bolsheviks' consolidation of power and tells a long and sweeping story without wasting a word...Our heroine reflects the genius of the Silver Age poets. Their works, personalities, and disagreements are examined as if through a jeweler's loupe."—Barbara Conaty, Library Journal
"A treat for fans of Russian literature...An unusual and passionate re-creation of the terrible tragedy of the Bolshevik Revolution and the timeless literary culture it produced."—Kirkus Reviews
Fitch’s satisfying sequel to The Revolution of Marina M. continues the saga of Marina Makarova, a 19-year-old poet and revolutionary who has rejected her bourgeois family in favor of the Bolshevik Revolution. Picking up in 1919, the novel begins with pregnant Marina deciding to leave behind her unfaithful lover, Kolya, to join a spiritualist cult. A few months into joining, Marina is fully immersed in Red October propaganda and reconnected with her estranged husband, Genya. When Genya abandons her during childbirth in rural Udmurtia, Marina decides to return to her childhood home of St. Petersburg. There, she faces the consequences of past choices, as well as the grim realities of the Russian Civil War and the revolution she helped bring about. After enduring near starvation, a deadly winter, confrontations with the secret police, and devastating personal tragedies, Marina becomes a tenant of the House of the Arts, a collectivized residence for Petersburg’s remaining intellectuals. Influenced by Russian literary giants Alexander Blok, Maxim Gorky, and Nicolay Gumilov, Marina grows increasingly ambivalent toward the Bolsheviks—and her support of counter-revolutionaries makes her a political target. Fitch’s impressive attention to historical detail and Marina’s bold voice carry the often winding story. Though the narrative is overlong, Fitch’s many fans will enjoy this immersive tale. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins Group (July)
In The Revolution of Marina M., we met Marina Makarova, whose whole soul belonged to the anti-tsarists during the Russian Revolution. She found a husband, lovers, and her true calling as a poet, capturing images and meters with passion and flair. Now, left alone and pregnant in the remote countryside, she's reunited with her husband who hauls her aboard an agit-train, Red October. She glories in spreading the revolution again, but not for long. Soon the baby arrives, and the family heads to Petrograd to live and work. Terrible disorder in the city makes for dreadful ordeals, even as Marina finds a haven in the House of Arts. Despite the travails, our heroine reflects the genius of the Silver Age poets. Their works, personalities, and disagreements are examined as if through a jeweler's loupe. The story peaks when the Soviet New Economic Policy challenges Marina's faith to the fullest. Can she remain a revolutionist? VERDICT Like a 19th-century avatar, Fitch gives a 360-degree view of the suffering caused by the Bolsheviks' consolidation of power and tells a long and sweeping story without wasting a word. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]—Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, VA
The second installment of a young poet's trials in war-torn Russia, 1919-1921.
In another massive tome, Fitch (The Revolution of Marina M., 2017, etc.) picks up where she left off—her heroine, Marina, once a bourgeois princess in a refined intellectual family in Petrograd, is now 19, pregnant, and desperately seeking work, shelter, and proletarian papers in the outlying burg of Tikhvin. Not long after she gets herself situated, her lusty nature gets her in trouble again—and then her long-lost poet husband (not the father of the child, unfortunately) rolls into town on an agit-prop train. Rescued from rural tedium, she's off with the actors, sailors, and soldiers riding the rails. Up on the roof of one of the cars, she glories in a "soar of spirits I never expected to feel again.…Ah, the rush, the sweep of the horizon, this enormous country headed into its future! I felt like I was riding time itself, the sun on my face, the freshness of the fields, the great green expanse of Russia in the blue bowl of her heavens." This will be one of her only happy moments in more than 700 pages of tumultuous plot, but no matter what grisly doom and miserable fate befall her, Marina continues to think big, in swathes of grand prose and plenty of quoted poetry. After she gives birth, she makes her way back to Petrograd, a city starving, collapsing, and writhing in agony. But on the plus side, she meets all the great writers of the period and is embraced as a promising new talent. The writer and activist Maxim Gorky plays a major role in the story; Blok, Mayakovsky, Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Gumilev, and many others are also on the scene. This part of the book seems a bit special interest for the general reader of historical fiction but will be a treat for fans of Russian literature. Since the first volume began with a prologue set in 1932 and this one only gets us to 1921, one wonders if Marina's story will end here.
An unusual and passionate re-creation of the terrible tragedy of the Bolshevik Revolution and the timeless literary culture it produced.