Sunday, 13 August 2017
When Snow Fell
Author Barbara Kastelin takes her readers through a vivid exploration of the impact of these events upon a family who must flee their native land and seek involuntary exile in Great Britain.
The novel is timely for a variety of reasons, it is the centenary of the Russian revolution and the world is, again, witnessing another era where mass migrations are taking place with all the resultant problems that such events bring in their wake.
There is a personal dimension to this novel as it relates the story of Barbara Kastelin's father's flight from Russia as a result of the revolution and the sad knowledge that their family would never be able to return to their ancestral homeland.
When Snow Fell tells the story of three generations of a once aristocratic White Russian family and their attempts (barely successful, in truth) to integrate into the Oxfordshire of the 1960s.
Perhaps it was that, compared to their previous lifestyle of opulence, glamour and extravagance amidst Czarist Russia, the England of the 1960s was just a little bit dull, in comparison?
The story is told with insight compassion and with a leavening of humour.
Eventually the family begins to run through their once copious financial resources and, in order to survive, they fin themselves in the situation of having to start selling off items of property.
They are so desperate that they must seek compensation from their old enemies, the Soviet Union.
This leads to interesting confrontations between the old order of Russia and the new order of Russia, with clashes not only if ideologies but also of personalities, too.
The result is that old, long-buried mysteries are brought to the surface and some unexpected results, including murder, are brought about.
This is a fascinating novel in the fine tradition of Russian literature.
It is published by Matador at £7.99 and can be obtained here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.