Irina Odoevtseva, Irina Steinberg
“No, I’m no queen,” she repeated. “In fact, I’m very modern. Why do you look at me like that?”
Left to her own devices in Biarritz, fourteen-year-old Russian Liza meets an older English boy, Cromwell, on a beach. He thinks he has found a magical, romantic beauty and insists upon calling her Isolde; she is taken with his Buick and ability to pay for dinner and champagne.
Disaffected and restless, Liza, her brother Nikolai and her boyfriend Andrei enjoy Cromwell’s company in restaurants and jazz bars after he follows Liza back to Paris – until his mother stops giving him money. When the siblings’ own mother abandons them to follow a lover to Nice, the group falls deeper into its haze of alcohol, and their darker drives begin to take over.
First published in 1929, Isolde is a startlingly fresh, disturbing portrait of a lost generation of Russian exiles by Irina Odoevtseva, a major Russian writer who has never before appeared in English.
"Enthralling... a compellingly conflicted portrait." - Guardian Review "In a literary scene dominated by men, Irina Odoevtseva offered a remarkably frank depiction of female sexuality - as if Annabel Leigh, or even Dolores Haze, had the chance to write her own painful story." - Times Literary Supplement "Lovely but also ominous... a gem of a novel, intensely attractive and bitter at the same time." - Spectator
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