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The Revolution of Marina M. (2017)

by Janet Fitch

Series: Marina M (1)

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3011168,834 (3.63)10
From the mega-bestselling author of White Oleander and Paint It Black, a sweeping historical saga of the Russian Revolution, as seen through the eyes of one young woman. St. Petersburg, New Year's Eve, 1916. Marina Makarova is a young woman of privilege who aches to break free of the constraints of her genteel life, a life about to be violently upended by the vast forces of history. Swept up on these tides, Marina will join the marches for workers' rights, fall in love with a radical young poet, and betray everything she holds dear, before being betrayed in turn. As her country goes through almost unimaginable upheaval, Marina's own coming-of-age unfolds, marked by deep passion and devastating loss, and the private heroism of an ordinary woman living through extraordinary times. This is the epic, mesmerizing story of one indomitable woman's journey through some of the most dramatic events of the last century.… (more)
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I was touched and rather incredulous as to what extent this American born author absorbed the most intimate details and nuances of Russian culture, and what's more - not a contemporary culture but from the time just before the revolution (narration starts in 1916) and through the stormy first years after it - this first volume finishes in 1919.

We follow an exhilarated, sensitive, curious, rebellious, unstoppable, precocious heroine Marina, a girl of just 16 at the start of the novel, an emerging poet, from a bourgeois family, as she experiences life to the fullest (not the least of it on the intimate front...). A poignant history lesson, with horrific events - through the eyes of this young romantic who has no choice but to mature much too fast in these 3 years of her life: seeing where life takes her is almost incomprehensible...

Very well written, not at all predictable (even though I know this period in Russian history quite well), this first part of Marina's agonizing quest (as well as Russia's calamity) kept me turning the pages - all 800 of them!... On to the next volume!... ( )
1 vote Clara53 | Aug 26, 2021 |
This novel is 800+ pages and it is just "book 1"! Set in Russia just before and during the revolution, the last part of the book (Part VII, The Ionians, November 1918-Spring 1919) was just too weird. And the book ends abruptly with an unresolved plot point. Marina is not particularly likeable. I'm not sure if I will read the sequel. ( )
1 vote riofriotex | Oct 2, 2019 |
At times I felt bogged down in this story which takes place after the Russian Revolution, but then it is a Russian novel with lots of angst. In fact, because of the length and detail of Marina’s life and connection with the Communists I understand MUCH more about the internal turmoils of the new government. The filth, the violence, the search for love and meaning in a cold, grey period of history is to be continued in another book. I’m not sure I’m ready for that one. I hope there is more hope in it. ( )
  brangwinn | Dec 29, 2018 |
A special thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Fitch amazed me with Paint in Black. I listened to the audiobook that was read by Jennifer Jason Leigh and it was mesmerizing—Audible cast this book perfectly, Leigh was brilliant and her delivery was flawless and was exactly what the character embodied. I also read and thoroughly enjoyed White Oleander when it was the Oprah's Book Club selection. Fitch is a powerful and poignant writer and has such purpose and thought throughout her novels.

This was quite the undertaking at 816 pages and it took several attempts to not only get into it, but to stick with it. Hear me out... Fitch did an extraordinary job in her research and retelling of the Russian Revolution but at times this was the only redemption. I struggled with the main character, she was completely void of depth and was surprisingly underdeveloped for such an intricate story.

The last almost quarter of the book was completely unnecessary—I'm not even going to try to understand why it was included, it should have been edited out. Especially because this is apparently volume one of two.

The beginning was the best part, and then...it's like Fitch had to include every single detail and every bit of research and it's not necessary. Is she looking for validation for her years of work? The story then just becomes a linear piece of writing which begs the question, should this have not been a historical fiction book but rather an actual book on the Russian Revolution? I think so. ( )
  GirlWellRead | Nov 14, 2018 |
Saga of one women’s life, set with the backdrop of the Russian Revolution. Wish I had more to say about it- just read it! ( )
  nheredia05 | Jun 12, 2018 |
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From the mega-bestselling author of White Oleander and Paint It Black, a sweeping historical saga of the Russian Revolution, as seen through the eyes of one young woman. St. Petersburg, New Year's Eve, 1916. Marina Makarova is a young woman of privilege who aches to break free of the constraints of her genteel life, a life about to be violently upended by the vast forces of history. Swept up on these tides, Marina will join the marches for workers' rights, fall in love with a radical young poet, and betray everything she holds dear, before being betrayed in turn. As her country goes through almost unimaginable upheaval, Marina's own coming-of-age unfolds, marked by deep passion and devastating loss, and the private heroism of an ordinary woman living through extraordinary times. This is the epic, mesmerizing story of one indomitable woman's journey through some of the most dramatic events of the last century.

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