Jill said, "Me again! I just finished The Archivist's Story by Travis Holland - a new book that follows a Soviet archivist who tries to protect works of literature from permanent destruction during the time of Stalin's Great Purge. A review is posted on my blog, if you're interested. I am not a Russian scholar, so I have no idea if this is a great representative of the literature of Russia or the former Soviet Union. However, for my personal list, I am counting it for Russia for this challenge."
Moscow, 1939. In the recesses of the infamous Lubyanka prison, a young archivist is sent to authenticate an unsigned story confiscated from one of the many political prisoners there. The writer is Isaac Babel. The great author of Red Cavalry is spending his last days forbidden to write, his final manuscripts consigned to the archivist, Pavel Dubrov, who will ultimately be charged with destroying them. The emotional jolt of meeting Babel face-to-face leads to a reckless decision: he will save the last stories of the author he reveres, whatever the cost.
From the margins of history, Travis Holland has woven a tale of the greatest power. Pavel’s private act of courage in the face of a vast bureaucracy of evil invigorates a life that had lost its meaning, even as it guarantees his almost certain undoing. A story of suspense, courage, and unexpected avenues of grace, The Archivist’s Story is ultimately an enduring tribute to the written word.