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Between Exile and Asylum
An Eastern Epistolary

Predrag Matvejevic, Distinguished Professor, La Sapienza University, Rome..

"Matvejevic has written other important books (Mediterranean: A Cultural Landscape; Yugoslavism Today; I Signori della guerra), but this is a special case. His personal stake is palpable from the first page, when he makes it clear that his ideal reader, at least in the opening, is his father who lies ill in a Zagreb hospital...

There is a lot of interesting material here on Soviet and Yugoslav cultural politics, but also much that is personal and compelling in the author's own story and in the subtly insinuating manner he chose to convey it. Fascinating stuff." - Amazon (extract from a reader's online review)

A collection of letters, written by a most extraordinary and yet typical representative of the East European intelligentsia, sent from Moscow, Mostar, and more recently Paris and Rome, where the author has lived since leaving war-torn Bosnia.

The writer Matvejevic, vice president of the International PEN Club, was born in Yugoslavia, the son of a Russian émigré. He first went to the USSR in 1972, as a guest of the Writers' Union, and described to his father the land that Matvejevic senior had not seen since leaving Odessa in 1921 (and that he would never see again in his lifetime). The past and the present, as well as his hopes and fears for the future of Russia fill the rest of his letters, which are addressed to members of the intellectual elite of Europe.

"I end this afterword in Saint Petersburg a quarter century after the first letter of my epistolary. I observe the unbearable disorder that reigns in this harmoniously constructed city-thus it is in all of Russia-and invoke once more Pushkin's lament: 'My God, how sad our Russia is!'"


Book One: Heroides To my forbears; Seven thousand days in Siberia; Sinyavsky-Daniel; Brodsky; Eurasian letters; The Gulag Archipelago Book Two: Steles Soviet itineraries; On letters, open and closed; Kolyma; To Varlam Shalamov; Russian letters; Hostage to the truth; Cause for dismissal; Yellow star, white star; Confession Book Three: Epitaphs Rehabilitations; Nikolai Bukharin; Peter Kropotkin, the dark prince; Maxim Gorky; Lev Trotsky; Goli Otok, a different gulag Book Four: Apologias Mikhail Bulgakov; Nadezhda Mandelshtam; Ariadna Efron; Kruzhok; Portraits of Stalin; On writers' perestroika; To Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev; Archives and memory: to Boris Yeltsin; An interrogation; Our disappointments: to Brodsky; Final letters; Heirs without heritage; Emigration and dissidence; The collapse of the intelligentsia; A perverted slavicism; The gulag so long ago... Afterword: An open letter to the Reader

240 pages
ISBN 978-963-9241-85-5 cloth $45.00 / €35.95 / £30.00