Laughter Over the Left Shoulder

D. Martin, Translator, Vladimir Soloukhin, Author Peter Owen Publishers $36.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-7206-0798-7
Set in the old Russian village of Alepino, where Soloukhin was born in 1924, this remembrance of early childhood lovingly mourns the passing of a way of life. In a series of unhurried sketches, the Soviet novelist describes the delights and hazards of beekeeping (his grandfather had 20 hives); limns a horde of siblings, aunts and uncles; and paints a bucolic landscape complete with family orchard, village bell-tower and windmills. Yet this is no rural idyll: by 1931 the village was part of a collective farm, its residents condemned to forced labor, while millions of rural people were subjected to mass deportation, imprisonment and murder by the Bolsheviks. Soloukhin ( Scenes from Russian Life ) combines the vivid immediacy of a child with the benefit of adult hindsight, intensifying the impact of this celebration of what was best in Russian village life. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 04/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
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