Shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year 2014 award
In this powerful new novel, leading Welsh-language writer Wiliam Owen Roberts continues his exploration of the impact of the October Revolution on members of a once-privileged Russian family. Scattered and exiled, all face difficult choices in ever-changing circumstances during the years from 1925 to 1933. In Berlin, Larissa marries into the wealthy German middle class while Margarita, her increasingly radicalised sister, joins the Communist Party. In Paris, their cousin Alexei struggles for physical survival whilst his widowed mother, Inessa, desperately tends the fading beauty on which she depends, and his uncle, Artyom, lives an increasingly risky life in the fast lane.
European in its scope, outlook, style and literary echoes, Paris is far more than a family saga with a strong narrative line and colourful characters. Through the evolving fortunes of each protagonist Roberts brings to life the history of the inter-war years, as conflicting political philosophies and factions begin to rehearse the war which is to come. In the private as well as the public spheres, the First World War and the Russian Revolution emerge as the driving forces of events, their long-term consequences colouring each individual’s opinions and choices. Unflinching in its depiction of the precarious lives of exiles and the impotent suffering of the poor under unbridled capitalism, this compelling sequel to Petrograd is a historical novel of utterly contemporary significance.
'Such sharpness ... should keep Umberto Eco watching his back and his semiology.'