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Between Revolutions An American Romance with Russia by Laurie Alberts

Between Revolutions An American Romance with Russia


Between Revolutions An American Romance with Russia by Laurie Alberts

In Between Revolutions , Michener Award-winning author Laurie Alberts relives her experiences teaching in Moscow and Leningrad for a year as a participant in an American Field Service exchange program before the fall of the Soviet Union. Her memoir provides a unique glimpse into the lives of ordinary Russians during the last years of the Soviet empire, while also portraying the difficulties of American/Soviet relations on the most personal of levels - the ways in which Cold War politics warped human connections. Alberts begins her tale in 1982 with her arrival in Moscow and describes her interactions with the students and her complicated friendships with some of the teachers. Her own novelty as an American allowed her to be privy to the intrigues, romances, and humor through which these Russians coped with their difficult, frustrating lives. The isolation of her experience and her romantic notions of Russia, as well as her need to belong, lead her to make choices that are not always the best. When she moves to Leningrad, Alberts unwittingly develops her own intrigue by beginning an affair with a charming but somewhat shady Russian named Kolya. Her tryst with Kolya mirrors her own lifelong fascination with Russia, a place that, despite her efforts, she will never quite understand. After leaving Leningrad for the summer, she returns to find that the political turmoil of the country has altered her connection to Kolya irreparably. Alberts' story ends in 2002, when a return visit to Russia - and Kolya - reveals the drastic changes brought by the fall of Communism to the lives of her friends and to their nation.


I wanted only to be done with my teaching, for this to be over. I began to dream of home. I'd wake, panicked, filled with an inordinate fear that I'd never get home again. Each time I woke to find myself in a dark hotel room, in a narrow sagging bed. Through the grayish opaque curtains on the French doors a streetlight glowed onto a street I knew to be wet and gritty and hopelessly drab, weak neon advertising dumplings and groceries - pelmeni and gastronom. I was in a place so alien I ached for the gentle fold of Vermont hillsides, even in drab November, when the Green Mountains became stark with bare maples and shivering birch trees.

About the Author

LAURIE ALBERTS is Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing at the MFA Program at Vermont College/Union Institute and University. She is the author of five books, including Fault Line and Tempting Fate.

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Book Info

Publication date

31st October 2005


Laurie Alberts

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University of Missouri Press


240 pages


Autobiography: general
Social & cultural history



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