Moscow in the 1930s: A Novel from the Archives reveals Moscow as it was in a bygone age, a city now found only on old maps, but an era that continues to haunt us today. The novel features a wide cast of characters, who are all tied together by the author herself.
The reader plunges into the remarkable Moscow literary scene of those days, and literature aficionados will encounter within a number of important locations for the history of Russian letters: the Dobrov house, Peredelkino, Lavrushinsky Lane, Borisoglebsky Lane – and also the names of legendary figures such as Olga Bessarabova, Maria Belkina, and Lydia Libedinskaya.
History is brought to life: the author introduces the reader to Leonid Andreyev, leads us on a tour of the side-streets and alleyways of the Arbat district, and shows us the tattered notebooks of Olga Bessarabova. All this has long since fallen away into history, but now it proves so easily accessible to us.
"Natalia Gromova brings a long gone Moscow to life, this is one of a number of books she has written using the same technique of real diaries and setting as a frame for her novels. I found this compelling if a slow read so much to absorb makes it a book that I will be rereading and discovering again." Winstonsdad's Blog
"Are you knowledgeable and passionate about Russian literature, art and music of the first half of the 20th century? If you are, this is the book for you, full of unexpected treasures." Edward James, Historical Novel Society
"Novelist and researcher Natalia Gromova draws upon extensive resources to produce this tale of exploring a version of Moscow that no longer exists. Using fiction as a tool for introducing a generation of literary legends to readers of today, Gromova writes herself into the story to serve as our guide to this now lost world." World Literature Today
"Impressively well written and a consistently compelling read from beginning to end, "Moscow in the 1930s" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to community and academic library Literary Fiction collections." Midwest Book Review
"As such, Moscow in the 1930s' charm, then, lies in how intimately it opens up the lives of some of Russia's most remarkable people. As someone who is still quite a novice when it comes to Russian literature, this novel feels like a great introduction to the works that sprang from this short yet tumultuous part of Russian history." Juli Witte, A universe in words
"Although Moscow in the 1930s is a difficult book to read, this tender homage to writers under Stalin provides an insight into a world that should not be forgotten." Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers LitBlog
Natalia Gromova was born into a military family in the Russian Far East in 1959 and moved to Moscow at an early age. At 16 she found employment at the State Historical Library. After completing her studies, she served as an editor on The Soviet Encyclopaedia, and later worked at the Marina Tsvetaeva Museum. Since the late 1990s, her exploration of the Russian archives and of private collections has resulted in a number of acclaimed historical and biographical studies focusing on the early 20th century and the war years.
Natalia Gromova is a writer and researcher specialising in the literary life of the 1920s – 1950s. Her books (The Knot. Poets: Friendships and Breakups, Wanderers of War. Memoirs of Writers’ Children and The Tablecloth of Lydia Libedinskaya) are based on private archives, diaries and face-to-face conversations with real people. She lives in Moscow.