A book blog about Russia in English-language fiction

Tag: Malcom Bradbury

House of Meetings by Martin Amis (2006)

Predictable? That Russia in Fiction would follow a review of a Kingsley Amis novel with a review of a novel by his son Martin? May be so. But the authors’ shared surname is about all that these two books have in common.

Russian Hide and Seek (1980) was barely about Russia at all. House of Meetings essays a profound exploration of Russia; from the first page of Part One to the novel’s closing line.

This is a love story. All right, Russian love. But still love

******

Russia is dying. And I’m glad.

House of Meetings, p. 7 and p. 196
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To the Hermitage by Malcolm Bradbury (2000)

To the Hermitage tells parallel tales of men who travelled to St Petersburg. Both are fictionalised versions of actual journeys.

One being that of Denis Diderot, the French philosopher, who visited his patron, and Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great, in 1773.

The other being the anonymous narrator of To the Hermitage, a version of Bradbury himself —English academic and author— making his way to St Petersburg as a member of a distinguished study group, the Diderot Project, in October 1993.

The very temporal settings speak of the novel’s parallelism.

Russia then as now was in trouble, tugged as it ever has been between east and west.

To the Hermitage, chapter 21
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