Word for Word: A Memoir of Literature, Politics and Survival in Soviet Russia

Word for Word has grown up to become an important milestone in Russia’s calendar. If you wanted to dive deeper into the historical makeup of the Slavs, of the Eastern European Jews, then there is no other book but this to enjoy doing so, from the looks of it. These people makeup the fabrics of our society, like nothing else and it’s so fascinating to learn about them as a cultural group – it is a beautiful thought to behold, that you can actually stare at a population diaspora, with this much particular knowledge. This is for numerous reasons, bordering on their beauty as a person, as a community, who often exhibit the devil-may-care attitude that is so rare.

I wonder if it is just simple coincidence that these people seem to share their personality attributes with those “special” Germans who were so utterly joyous to see the Berlin Wall fall, they decided to stomp on it and dance with abandon. It was finally over – the great divide between the East and the West. I wonder because this author seems to be so lazy about rules and rigidity and has even gotten the opportunity to enjoy Germania.  

This book is a surge of Russia’s cultural history, as it was back in the early 1900s. You meet this woman, Lilianna Lungina, who is a beacon of the ‘20s but in her own special, private way. She is a Russian Jew, who has spent her childhood surrounded by dimes and dollars, and has been to France, Palestine – close to the place with which she shares her roots, and ofcourse, Germany. Most of her childhood was spent in USSR though, where she moved to when she was only 13 years old. In the USSR, Lungina saw some of the country’s biggest political mishaps happen right before her very eyes – how extraordinarily lucky!