Fleming explores the clash between
tradition and progress, class and culture in
, a gritty novel, intensely flavored
with both the elegance and terror of Russia on the
brink of civil war, that lures the reader in with an
almost lighthearted opening travelogue but that
inexorably gathers steam, drawing to a thrilling,
emotionally exhausting conclusion.
Charlie Doig, son of a Scots father and Russian
mother, is brought up near Smolensk until about
12-years of age when he and his mother move to
England where his father plans to join them.
Unfortunately, Doig senior catches the plague and
dies before joining his family in London, leaving
his proud Russian wife penniless, living on the
charity of relatives; and his son...
Beyond the Book
was born in
London in 1944, the fourth in a
family of nine children. His
education began with a
governess, Miss Malins, who
"wielded power via a thick, blue
oval crayon that would be jabbed
into our ribs if ever we
faltered." At the age of eight
he was sent to boarding school
Abberley Hall. He got into
Oxford "by a whisker" and gained
a second in Modern History.
On graduation, he became an articled clerk
(trainee accountant) and
went to work with Angus &
Robertson, an Australian
publisher with an office...