Irina’s Story is the historical novel about the Uspensky family throughout the 20th century in Russia. Jim Williams did his utmost to paint a broad variety of colorful characters, mix it with the historical background of the last Romanov Tsar, Bolsheviks, First and Second World War, Stalin up to the fall of the Iron Curtain with Gorbachev. At age 90, Irina Uspenskaya is the last surviving witness of this family saga, once recorded in diaries, and now retold, reframed from a primarily female point of view. Heroes of wars, victims sent to the Gulag, Jewish people despised, trust and religion dismantled.
Irina recollects from memory, love letters and fiction. Sometimes she steps out of the storyline to reflect on the way such a time span can be bridged, how fiction is woven into a memoir. This Russian tale kept me reading for hours.
About the author
Jim Williams first hit the news when his early novels had the uncanny knack of coming true. The Hitler Diaries was published nine months before the celebrated forgery came out in 1983. Farewell to Russia dealt with a nuclear disaster in the Soviet Union months before the Chernobyl disaster. Lara’s Child, his sequel to Doctor Zhivago, provoked an international literary scandal and led to his being a guest speaker at the Cheltenham Festival. Scherzo, a witty and elegant mystery set in eighteenth century Venice, was nominated for the Booker Prize. All of his fiction has been published internationally. The Sadness of Angels is his twelfth novel and his first in the science fiction fantasy genre.
I received a free review copy from the author through Librarything in exchange for my personal, unbiased review upon reading.