In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
When Maria Stepanova was fifteen, her mother showed her a small lace purse which had belonged to her grandmotherLyolya and which contained an old, small piece of paper “beginning to tear at the folds”; on the paper was written a single name: Victor Pavlovish Nelidov. The name was a mystery to her mother, and it remained one to Maria despite her searching; and a mystery it remains – as far as the reader ofIn Memory of Memoryknows – to this day. The purse, the folded piece of paper, and the ‘invisible Nelidov’ are a potent symbol of the hopeless yet meaning-rich search which has clearly obsessed Stepanova for years and to which this book is an outstanding testament.
I have had no success, only the feeling of walking into yet another empty green field and realizing once…
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