The Idealists

Henry Carlisle, Author, Carlisle, Author, Olga Andreyev Carlisle, Joint Author Thomas Dunne Books $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-20054-1
Revolutionary fire crackles in this authoritative account of events in Russia in 1917-1918. Vasily Nevsky (modeled after Socialist Victor Chernov) is the anti-monarchist and popular leader of the Social Revolutionary Party, who's waiting out his European exile with his equally political wife, Anna, and 17-year-old daughter, Marina, when word comes that the revolution has begun. An idealistic member of the Socialist old guard who believes in democracy and abhors the rule of fear, Vasily finds upon his return to Russia that his arch-rival Lenin does not concur. The Red Terror strikes, and Vasily goes underground. Meanwhile, Anna and Marina retreat to the countryside, and Marina falls headlong in love with a fiery young SR organizer. There are many strengths in Olga (Solzhenitsyn and the Secret Circle) and Henry Carlisle's (Ilyich Slept Here) first collaborative effort: their convincing synthesis of fact and fiction; the chilling depiction of a hopelessly naive royal family whose patriarch plays dominoes while his empire dies. However, for all its insight, intelligence, and depiction of a paranoid world in which ""It has become impossible to trust those who haven't been arrested,"" the novel runs the risk of suffocating the reader with too many facts and a Tolstoyan number of characters. Its interest as a historical account, however, helps to make up for the sometimes lifeless dialogue and occasional awkwardness in the narrative. (Feb.) FYI: Olga Andreyev Carlisle was born in Paris to a politically active Russian family. Henry Carlisle is a former PEN America president and editor at Knopf.
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-312-25394-3
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