Friday, December 16, 2016

Kennedys' Curse over a Russian family - Yelena Litinskaya's confessional memoir

Greetings, commies and fellow deplorables!

Another post for my Russian speaking readers. I wanted to share a very short but intense confessional memoir by Yelena Litinskaya, a Brooklyn-based librarian, linguist and one of the most prominent figures in the Russian literary scene. The memoir is complete with poems written over the course of her turbulent marriage and some photographs.

My thoughts
They say that the question of ethnicity is not relevant for the truly educated, enlightened individuals. At least that's the point of view held by many Russian-Jewish immigrants, especially those who come from mixed families. And yet, this principle does not stop Yelena Litinskaya, the author of the confessional memoir "A Descendant of the Istratov Dynasty", to make humorous comments regarding her second marriage. Her remarks are good-natured and self-deprecating. She refers to herself as a typical overbearing Jewish mother and wife, while her husband Dmitry, is depicted as an old-fashioned Slavic titan, the stuff of Russian folk tales. Picture an animated, petite Jewish woman and a melancholic, tormented Russian man. There seems to be a curse hovering over the noble Istratov family from which Dmitry comes. A string of tragic deaths plague the family: freak accidents, mental illness, addition, suicide. You immediately think of the Kennedys. That is the baggage that the wide-eyed Jewish girl inherits when she falls in love with her Russian titan. On the intellectual level, these two seem like a golden couple, she an accomplished linguist and he a brilliant radio producer. Like many talented people, however, Dmitry is terrifyingly impractical and prone to self-destruction. The dark cloud that hovers over his family eventually engulfs him. Yelena, a creature of the light, is powerless to rescue him. She lives to tell the story of their tumultuous, deeply sensual love.

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