Books: Soviet Literature Goes West

A generation of Russian writers is thriving in exile

Three years after he was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1972, Russian Poet Joseph Brodsky compared the émigré writer to a creature who "survives like a fish in the sand: crawls off into the bush, and getting up on crooked legs,/ walks away (his tracks like a line of writing)/ into the heart of the continent."

In the past, that journey was arduous and often tragic for Soviet exiles, particularly for those poets and writers who fled their country after the 1917 Revolution. A few,...

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