I learned of this book from blogger Modern Mrs. Darcy.
Russian author Ludmilla Petrushevskay was born in the Motropol Hotel in Moscow. A child born after “the first time” in Stalinist USSR grows up during the war, experiences the death of Stalin and comes of age in the Khrushchev era. Her abandonment, eventually, by both parents (though her mother will return to her life), both physical and emotional leads her thru years of wild, at times almost feral behavior in childhood. She chronicles her journey from packed communal apartment to other packed communal apartments, to a Soviet children’s home [orphange–though not eligible for adoption] to school to university. The harrowing years of her feral behavior come after non-person or enemy of the people status is conferred on a family member. She rises above this later and has a successful career.
It was fascinating to read about someone growing up in this era of the Soviet Union. As I’ve said before, Russian and East European Studies was my major, but I graduated in Regan’s first term, so memoirs of this generation weren’t available yet. Our studies were focused on Stalin, the gulag, etc. It was interesting to hear about school at that time and other ordinary events.
What I didn’t like was the title. She barely lived there! It should have been The Girl BORN at the Metropol Hotel.
The Girl From the Metropol Hotel: Growing Up in Communist Russia by Ludmilla Petrushevskay
Metropol Hotel photo: Alamy