Just Send Me Word (Paperback)
A True Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag
Picador USA, 9781250032164, 333pp.
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
"A book to astonish readers: never before has Stalin's Gulag been the setting for a love affair. This powerful narrative by a distinguished historian will take its place not just in history but in literature.""--"Robert K. Massie, author of "Catherine the Great"
""Author of "Natasha's Dance" and "The Crimean War"
""In 1946, after five years as a prisoner--first as a Soviet Union POW in Nazi concentration camps, then as a deportee (falsely accused of treason) in Russia's Arctic Gulag--twenty-nine-year-old Lev Mishchenko unexpectedly received a letter from Sveta, the sweetheart he had hardly dared hope was still alive. Amazingly, over the next eight years the lovers managed to exchange more than 1,500 messages, and even to smuggle Sveta herself into the camp for secret meetings. Their recently discovered correspondence is the only known real-time record of life in Stalin's Gulag, unmediated and uncensored.
Orlando Figes draws on Lev and Sveta's letters as well as KGB archives and recent interviews to brilliantly reconstruct the broader world in which their story unfolded. With the powerful narrative drive of a novel, "Just Send Me Word" reveals a passion and endurance that triumphed over the tragic forces of history.
About the Author
Praise For Just Send Me Word: A True Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag…
"Entrancing... Makes an indelible impression."—The New York Review of Books
"An enchanting marvel that reacquaints our technologically sophisticated but verbally deficient world with the power of the epistle to sustain love in the most trying of circumstances...A gem of a book."—The Boston Globe
"One is overcome with admiration for the kindness, bravery, and generosity of people in terrible peril.... It is impossible to read without shedding tears."—Simon Sebag Montefiore, Financial Times (London)
"Remarkable... Figes, selecting and then interpreting this mass of letters, makes them tell two kinds of story. The first is a uniquely detailed narrative of the Gulag, of the callous, slatternly universe which consumed millions of lives.... The second is about two people determined not to lose each other."—Neal Ascherson, The Guardian
“A book to astonish readers: never before has Stalin’s Gulag been the setting for a love affair. This powerful narrative by a distinguished historian will take its place not just in history but in literature.”—Robert K. Massie, author of Catherine the Great
"Timely and important...What gives Just Send Me Word its power is the intimate, granular detail of Gulag life, of how men and women attempted to create a semblance of normality in the most abnormal of circumstances."—The Daily Beast
"A heroic, absolutely astounding love story."—Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Orlando Figes, a serious scholar who can reach wide general audiences, has done it again...An engaging portrait of a revealing and intimate relationship within almost unimaginable conditions."—History Book Club