Richard Robertovich

Mark Frankland, Author Beaufort Books $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8253-0442-2
It's a pity that the author, a seasoned Moscow correspondent for the London Observer, chose an awkward formatletters and journal entries of the central character, Richard Robertovich; a running commentary by his best friend Igor; and straight narration by his son Jamesto tell this emotional tale of love and betrayal. Robertovich (ne Southwell), an enthusiast of the Soviet socialist experiment, brings his family to Moscow in 1958. Ten years later, his disillusioned wife and children return to London. Robertovich sloughs off his discomfiture like an old skin. He cultivates his circle of Moscow friends on the fringes of the intelligentsia, befriends a dissident writer, falls in love with a Czech woman in the tumultuous year of 1968 and never manages to lose his idealism or, most importantly, his innocence. At a conference at the seaside city of Baku, he again falls in love, this time with the wife of a party official, a relationship that is brutally squelched by the KGB, leading to his suicide. Frankland has an authoritative, direct style that enhances the sentimentality and romanticism of his tale. While the combination is an odd one, the novel is nevertheless successful enough to pique the reader's interest. (March)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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