Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Two Soviet Jewish Grandmothers

Katha Pollitt reviews Ester and Ruzya, a dual biography of two Soviet Jewish women and their harrowing stories, told by their granddaughter, Masha Gessen (who visits Thursday) in 2005 in the New York Times:

"Reviewers sometimes call a work of nonfiction ''as exciting as a novel,'' but that would be an understatement applied to this extraordinary family memoir. Masha Gessen, a gifted Russian-American journalist, narrates the intertwined lives of her two Soviet Jewish grandmothers, best friends for over 50 years, as they confront some of the 20th century's worst ordeals: Stalin's terror, Hitler's mass murder of the Jews, World War II, the bewildering twists and turns of the post-Stalin era. If your idea of a memoir runs to family dysfunction and authorial disgruntlement, or to people going on about their houses and travels, ''Ester and Ruzya'' will remind you how much life, history and emotional and moral complexity the genre can convey in the hands of a wonderful writer. " More.