Sunday, August 11, 2019

CHIMES OF A LOST CATHEDRAL



Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org


Chimes of a Lost Cathedral, Janet Fitch, Little Brown and Company, 2019, 730 pp


This is the second volume of the story begun in The Revolution of Marina M, one of my favorite books of 2017. I loved both books so much. What Janet Fitch has done in these books is to show the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the first few years of Russian communism, disaster and terror through the life of an impetuous, passionate, idealistic young woman who is also an emerging poet.

Marina's Russian soul led her into all the tumult of 1917 but her energy and spirit carried her through those confusing times. Chimes of a Lost Cathedral picks up right where the first book left off. If you have not read the first volume, I dare not cover the plot of this second one because anything I wrote would be full of spoilers.

Chimes finds Marina in more dire circumstances than ever. Her previous choices have caught up with her and to an extent she is trapped. Her fiery refusal to ever be a victim paradoxically brings on the very worst losses and heartbreaks of her short life. Chimes is a darker story of the consequences of revolution, especially for women and children.

Still, the poets and writers loom large as well as the clashes between idealists and "practical" politicians. Even as she matures Marina's heroism and lusty approach to life makes for a breathtaking finish. 

These two books are long in the good way that long books take you through sweeping changes and immerse you in their worlds. If you have liked Pachinko, The Sympathizer, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, The Big Green Tent or The Nix, you will love The Revolution of Marina M and Chimes of a Lost Cathedral.

12 comments:

  1. This sounds terrific. The Russian Revolution and the time that followed was really a bad thing to live through. There is a lot of potential in fiction to illustrate that through the lens of an individual.

    Mariana M. also sounds like a great character..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree about that being one of the more tempestuous times in history. Marina's character parallels those times in amazing ways.

      Delete
  2. You have me interested. And I'm curious about the author and plan to hear a couple interviews with her via her website. Is she a Russian scholar?! The good news is: I'm starting to like Thick Long novels now as the Goldfinch is turning my opinion around. I carry it around like a brick. My only requirement is : it must be easily readable and a good story. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow, I forgot about The Goldfinch in my long novels list. Yes! Janet Fitch has an interesting history with Russia and Russian lit. If you listen to interviews you will hear about that. She is definitely an easy to read writer and tells a good big story!

      Delete
  3. it sounds like this is based on the life of a real poet... (of course i can't remember her name: starts with an "a" i think...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Two poets from real life do feature in the story: Anna Akhmatova and Marina Tsvetaeva. They are Marina M's inspirations and much revered predecessors.

      Delete
  4. Wonderful review! This sounds like something I need to read!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Since I loved all those books you mentioned, I guess I better add Janet Fitch to my list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh good! I was hoping I could tempt you.

      Delete
  6. I'd really like to learn more about Russia and this seems a good an educational book for me! Great review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Esther! You would surely learn a lot.

      Delete