The Revolution of Marina M. by Janet Fitch

The Revolution of Marina M.

From the mega-bestselling author of White Oleander and Paint It Black, a sweeping historical saga of the Russian Revolution, as seen through the eyes of one young woman.St. Petersburg, New Year's Eve, 1916. Marina Makarova is a young woman of privilege who aches to break free of the constraints of her genteel life, a life about to be violently upended by the vast forces of...

Title:The Revolution of Marina M.
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Edition Language:English

The Revolution of Marina M. Reviews

  • Cheri

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !!

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !!

    As this story really begins, it is on the eve of the New Year, 1916, and when dawn breaks, a new year will begin. 1917, will be a year to be remembered, the beginning of great change in Petrograd. As the New Year’s Eve begins, Marina Makarova is on the verge of sixteen, with

    her younger brother, Seryozha, a year younger, still, her older brother, Volodya, an officer in the cavalry off fighting in Bohemia. For now, Marina is surrounded by her friends, Varvara and Mina, while they wait to see their fortunes cast over a basin of water in the children’s nursery of Marina’s home.

    Marina Dmietrievna Makarova is a daughter of privilege, her father has done well, and her parents are well thought of among their peers. Marina’s thoughts, when she is not writing her poetry, seem to center around love, and handsome young men. Dancing. A kiss. Perhaps more. With the tide rising against those families who have more than their fair share, Marina chooses to dip her toes into the waters of the Revolution that is growing, but still in the stages of its infancy. At first it isn’t much, some poetry readings where she meets other poets, hears new ideas. Eventually she joins in the marches for workers’ rights, a move that gains her some new friends. A dangerous move.

    Marina isn’t always the most likeable of characters. There are parts of her story that are beyond heartbreaking, and there are some that had me question where her part of this story was going. Marina seems easily swept away, without much thought or real commitment, and rarely with any thought of potential consequence. Then again, she is still relatively young. It is through Marina that we see much of the Revolution, from the “February Revolution” which took place from 8-16 March 1917, followed by the “October Revolution” from 7-8 November 1917, and through the Russian Civil War.

    Part coming-of-age story, this is a story of relationships tested by the division of right and wrong, the division of those who have and those who never have. War. Friendship. Betrayal. Familial Love. Romantic Love.

    Several years ago I read, and loved, Janet Fitch’s

    . I have not read her novel

    . I wanted to read

    because I had found

    to be incredibly beautifully written. I can’t say that I was equally as mesmerized with all of

    although the writing is still beautiful. The length of this is somewhat daunting to contemplate, but once you begin reading this, I found it to be a pleasurable read, overall – although I do think it would have benefitted from some healthy trimming on, at least, one of the side stories.

    November 2017, which will also be the month of the publication, will be the 100th ‘anniversary’ of the Russian Revolution.

    Pub Date: 07 Nov 2017

    Many thanks for the ARC provided by Little, Brown and Company

  • lp

    I fell in love with Marina M.—the book and the character. The research Janet Fitch must have done! She has great ability to make this character relatable—Marina M. had experiences and thoughts that I felt were torn from my teenage diary. The book is long but the story is fast paced, it takes you on a really fun journey. I was reading it at the same time I was watching THE AMERICANS, which I felt enhanced it. Thank you for this book, Janet! I'm so glad to have another book from you, and this exce

    I fell in love with Marina M.—the book and the character. The research Janet Fitch must have done! She has great ability to make this character relatable—Marina M. had experiences and thoughts that I felt were torn from my teenage diary. The book is long but the story is fast paced, it takes you on a really fun journey. I was reading it at the same time I was watching THE AMERICANS, which I felt enhanced it. Thank you for this book, Janet! I'm so glad to have another book from you, and this exceeded my expectations.

  • Kate Olson

    So, this book. I'm settling on 3.5 stars, although I know Goodreads won't honor the half!

    Thanks to Little Brown for the ARC of the title.

    I dedicated 6 days of my life to all 804 pages of it and am attempting to pull all of my thoughts together.......and then I read the Goodreads and BookPage interviews with the author that explains that this is book 1 of 2 volumes, and that muddled all of my previous thoughts! I really wonder why that wasn't more heavily publicized??? Ultimately, I'm glad I re

    So, this book. I'm settling on 3.5 stars, although I know Goodreads won't honor the half!

    Thanks to Little Brown for the ARC of the title.

    I dedicated 6 days of my life to all 804 pages of it and am attempting to pull all of my thoughts together.......and then I read the Goodreads and BookPage interviews with the author that explains that this is book 1 of 2 volumes, and that muddled all of my previous thoughts! I really wonder why that wasn't more heavily publicized??? Ultimately, I'm glad I read this book because it was a perfect slow-down from the frenetic reading schedule I have been on lately. And although it drove me crazy at times and I wanted to shake Marina at times, I grew to care deeply about what happened to her and how her story ended..........

    I don't want to include spoilers here, so I'll just do bullet-pointed ramblings........

    * I can not begin to critique the historical accuracy of the story given my limited knowledge of this historical setting and events, but from what is said in the interviews, Fitch spent a large amount of time IN Russia researching this book and met with historical experts in Russia to ensure things are accurate. I was fascinated with the political and historical storylines, although I honestly couldn't keep everything straight - I didn't let my confusion bog me down, though, and just resolved to read more about this time period.

    * There is a LOT of sex in this book. Lots of graphic sex. I think the NYT Review says it best - "For all her progressive defiance, Marina is still treated by the more politically empowered men in her life as merely an object for degradation — the details of which are perhaps a little crass even for the most jaded reader." She is sexually empowered because she acknowledges her desires and seeks out satisfaction, but........oh my LORD does she get imprisoned and taken advantage of by horrible men so so so so so often!

    * I would have given this 5 stars based on the first 670 pages. However, pages 671-800 were WAY trippy and out there and took this story in a direction that I in no way saw coming or wanted to have occur. If had been editing this book, I would have strongly, strongly recommended that this strange storyline either change or be completely left out of the book, but of course, that's just me! I do know the length of the book overall will probably deter some readers.

    * The fact that I stuck with the book is impressive given its length, so there is a lot to be said for the author's storytelling and the sense of suspense she built - especially given the prologue in Carmel, CA in 1932. I read feverishly at times to figure out how. the. hell. she. got. there. However, without knowing ahead of time that there is supposed to be a volume 2 (and it appears neither did any of the major trade reviewers???), I almost threw this book out the window when I got to the ending. My final verdict will have to be given once I read the next book, I guess.........

    If you are into doorstop historical epics, you may enjoy this one. If you love Russian history, pick this up. If you want a satisfying ending to your untold hours of reading..........maybe wait until you know for sure that volume 2 is on its way.

  • Ruth

    Edit: I had originally said it was 4.5 stars due to the abrupt ending but the ARC I was reading didn't indicate that it's actually part 1 of a 2 part series. Definitely the full 5!

    I actually savored it and read it slowly even though I was dying to know what was coming because I was captivated all throughout. It is an excellent read and has me wanting to read more about life during the Russian revolution. Although the life and background of Marina are vastly different, I could still see a little

    Edit: I had originally said it was 4.5 stars due to the abrupt ending but the ARC I was reading didn't indicate that it's actually part 1 of a 2 part series. Definitely the full 5!

    I actually savored it and read it slowly even though I was dying to know what was coming because I was captivated all throughout. It is an excellent read and has me wanting to read more about life during the Russian revolution. Although the life and background of Marina are vastly different, I could still see a little Astrid and Josie in her.

  • Francesca

    Janet Fitch is a little pretentious and so are her characters, but, like, in an endearing way. This is an over-simplification but Marina is like a Russian Astrid and the book itself is like a Russian-lit version of White Oleander. Family, love, abuse, with the added intrigue of Russian history. It's a huge book but doesn't feel huge. Recommended for anyone with a big imagination and a need to snuggle into a book like a bear hibernating in winter.

  • Lindsey

    Oof. I love Janet Fitch so this is a hard review to write but this book was painfully dull. I started with high hopes. Marina is a very likable character and the Russian revolution is a vibrant and electric setting for a coming-of-age story. The beginning of the novel was well done, with our young heroine naively living the good life, sharing her expectations for her future, engaging in a youthful love affair, dreaming of a fancy life with her friends. And then everything goes to shit, literally

    Oof. I love Janet Fitch so this is a hard review to write but this book was painfully dull. I started with high hopes. Marina is a very likable character and the Russian revolution is a vibrant and electric setting for a coming-of-age story. The beginning of the novel was well done, with our young heroine naively living the good life, sharing her expectations for her future, engaging in a youthful love affair, dreaming of a fancy life with her friends. And then everything goes to shit, literally. By the second hundred pages I was already feeling the slog. There was so. Much. Detail. It filled every sentence, paragraph, and page. I know Janet Fitch did an extensive amount of research for this novel, which I appreciate, but I didn't need every bit of it included in the novel. That's not an exaggeration. She included everything, in a bad way. Marina became the narrator of events that only marginally related to her and did nothing to forward her story, which is the story I wanted to read. Instead Marina's story was more like a pantomime, a one-dimensional composite of the experiences of the people during the revolution. It wasn't complex or interesting, it made for flat storytelling, and even flatter character development. Marina was just the lens through which Janet Fitch wrote what she really wanted, which was a history of the Russian revolution. She should have just done that and skipped the fiction part. It would have made for a better read.

    I received this book through Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.

  • Sabrina

    Should I DNF a book at 600 pages? This is the question I am currently facing.

    Ultimately, despite how much time I have devoted to this book, I'm going to answer yes. I was loving it for the first quarter, but at three quarters of the way through, I don't care very much for what is happening and I do not feel motivated to continue. I really like the juxtaposition of the coming of age story and the birth of the Russian Revolution. I find how Janet Fitch weaves the history into Marina's life to be c

    Should I DNF a book at 600 pages? This is the question I am currently facing.

    Ultimately, despite how much time I have devoted to this book, I'm going to answer yes. I was loving it for the first quarter, but at three quarters of the way through, I don't care very much for what is happening and I do not feel motivated to continue. I really like the juxtaposition of the coming of age story and the birth of the Russian Revolution. I find how Janet Fitch weaves the history into Marina's life to be compelling and interesting. However, I feel like this novel is too long, and Marina's insistence on repeating the same mistakes over and over are growing a bit tiresome. They don't feel genuine, especially coming off the heels of several extremely graphic scenes of torture and sexual violence. I am done.

    I loved White Oleander so so much, perhaps my expectations for this were just too high.

  • Nancy

    I would have given it 5 stars, but I hate books that end like that.

    Amendment: Love this book and can't wait for the sequel!!

  • Lauren

    I'm grateful to BOTM for sending me an ARC of this book. I have to say, I feel like the only person in the world who didn't fall head over heels for this novel. I loved White Oleander, and I fully expected the same clarity of voice, the same forward drive of the story as Fitch displayed in her seminal work. Unfortunately, all of that was completely lacking for me. I found the story rambled from chapter to chapter, and while Fitch did an EXTRAORDINARY job relating the events and feelings of the R

    I'm grateful to BOTM for sending me an ARC of this book. I have to say, I feel like the only person in the world who didn't fall head over heels for this novel. I loved White Oleander, and I fully expected the same clarity of voice, the same forward drive of the story as Fitch displayed in her seminal work. Unfortunately, all of that was completely lacking for me. I found the story rambled from chapter to chapter, and while Fitch did an EXTRAORDINARY job relating the events and feelings of the Russian Revolution, her extensive research and the historical aspect were the only things that got me through 800+ pages of zero character development. Marina's transition from a bourgeoisie to a Bolshevik really isn't a transition at all, because throughout the entire book, she simply follows and echoes other people's thoughts and actions. Her words are empty, her actions are meaningless, and she never fully developed into her own woman... at least not for me. Her CONSTANT drivel over Kolya, and then Genya, and then Kolya again seriously made me want to throw the book against the wall and scream "ENOUGH!" She never learns any lessons, she's completely faithless, and though she pantomimes regret, it's completely disingenuous. And the Rasputin-esque cult at the end? Seriously? I almost laughed out loud. It made zero sense and contributed to the forward progress in no way whatsoever. I understand that this is meant to have a sequel... I will not be reading it.

  • Janet

    This is where I've been for the last decade--working on one novel,

    If you know me from my first two books,

    and

    , both set in my home town of Los Angeles, you might be surprised to see a book set during the Russian Revolution. But as Toni Morrison once advised writers: “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”

    I'm one of those people Elif Batuman described in her book

    This is where I've been for the last decade--working on one novel,

    If you know me from my first two books,

    and

    , both set in my home town of Los Angeles, you might be surprised to see a book set during the Russian Revolution. But as Toni Morrison once advised writers: “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”

    I'm one of those people Elif Batuman described in her book

    -- crazy about Russia. I majored in history, Russian was my language. No one who knows me well was at all surprised to hear I was writing a historical novel set in Russia. One look at my books here on Goodreads should give you a clue.

    And if you've read one of my earlier books, you know that the inner lives of women is my great obsession. I'm fascinated by how the decisions a young girl makes, the actions she takes based upon the conclusions she draws, create the woman she becomes. I fiercely admire the strength young women bring to their search for self. My newest novel is the story of one girl's coming of age during some of the most turbulent times in the modern epoch.

    To those major impulses, add a third—my love of poetry and admiration for its practitioners.

    My protagonist, Marina Makarova, is a young poet the same age as the century, fiery and headstrong with an enormous love of life. We meet her in 1916, in the midst of the First World War, as Russia sinks further and further into military disaster, economic stress and social unrest. The daughter of a liberal

    family, Marina comes to champion the cause of the suffering underclass. As the old world begins to unravel, she finds a new freedom in which to explore a new self, testing the boundaries of her life, both politically and personally.

    But when the October Revolution sweeps away the short-lived liberal government in which her father is a member, the girl who has itched to break free of all constraints finds herself forcibly expelled from her family, to live at 17 as an independent woman and a poet among poets, a citizen among citizens in a time of chaos and possibility.

    A passionate girl, Marina's love is divided between two very different men-- one from the past, her older brother’s best friend who scoffs at the revolution and claims allegiance to a country of one – and the second, an openhearted radical poet with whom she lives the life of the revolution. Each man responds to a different side of her nature, and there is no easy solution to a nature at war with itself. Love, friendship, loss, betrayal, possibility, realism and idealism, these are some of the themes of the book.

    I love a big, intense book. I want it to immerse me completely in its fictional world. I've loved the years I've spent with Marina, and I hope you find it as satisfying to read as it was to create.

    In fact, this novel is the first volume of two. I am currently finishing next one. If you'd like to know more about the book, read an excerpt, see maps, photographs and learn a bit about the research behind it, please visit my website at

    .

    Thanks!

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