Madonna from Russia

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Peter Owen, 2006 - Fiction - 219 pages
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The picaresque story of 96-year-old Lily Bourbon, who marries her way from prostitute to Poet Laureate in the USSR and finds a new life in the U.S.

Lily was a beautiful young prostitute recruited by the Bolsheviks to service the Communist elite. As a result of a fortuitous marriage to Andrei Bourbon, famous poet, futurist and artistic associate of Malevich and Mayakovsky, her own verse is delivered to the official Communist newspapers, together with an entirely invented revolutionary biography. Before long, she is made poet laureate and feted as an idealized symbol of the Soviet era, while Andrei, after being incarcerated in a mental hospital by Lily, disappears in the purges. After the collapse of several marriages—and the Soviet Union—she leaves Russia for the United States. This is where we meet her, still striking-looking and engaged to a naive American, starting out again at the age of ninety-six. Following further bizarre and picaresque adventures, she reaches for her greatest honour yet—to be "Queen Lily the First" of the newly created island state of Grande Bravo.

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About the author (2006)

Yuri Druzhnikov is a professor at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of a number of works of fiction and non-fiction and he was nominated by Poland for the Nobel prize.

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