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The Revolution of Marina M.

(The Revolution of Marina M. #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  2,750 ratings  ·  537 reviews
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
Hardcover, 816 pages
Published November 7th 2017 by Little, Brown and Company
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Asteropê Expected publication: November 7th 2017 by Little, Brown and Company
Oksana I believe, the author of NY Times review could not see the forest for the trees. Yes, "Revolution of Marina M" has its share of weaknesses (e.g. overu…moreI believe, the author of NY Times review could not see the forest for the trees. Yes, "Revolution of Marina M" has its share of weaknesses (e.g. overuse of Russian words and phrases that could be annoying to those who are not familiar with the language; Marina's imprisonment at Arkadiy's and her untraceable escape, etc.). However, it is a very accurate description (down to specific details) of that era based on a great amount of research of the documents that became accessible after perestroika. The book is written with an intimate understanding and insight into Russian culture now and then, its people, cities (especially St. Petersburg), etc. It is a great introduction in a fictional format to the events of "Ten days that shook the world". (less)

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Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: russia, big-books
This is where I've been for the last decade--working on one novel, The Revolution of Marina M.

If you know me from my first two books, White Oleander and Paint It Black, 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 The Possessed:

”MIDNIGHT, NEW YEAR’S EVE, three young witches gathered in the city that was once St. Petersburg. Though that silver sound, Petersburg, had been erased, and how oddly the new one struck our ears: Petrograd. A sound like bronze. Like horseshoes on stone, hammer on anvil, thunder in the name—Petrograd. No longer Petersburg of the bells and water, that city of mirrors, of transparent twilights, Tchaikovsky ballets, and Pushkin’s genius. Its name had been changed by war—Petersbur
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“At first I saw nothing. Then, way up at the end of Nevsky, a black dot appeared. A bit of red. As I watched the dot grew into a bobbing mass, adorned with small smears of scarlet. Now a noise, faint, like the whispering of waves on a pebbly beach, a low gravelly chatter, arose and soon echoed off the buildings and rolled down the boulevard. The marchers were chanting but we weren’t close enough to hear the words…Varvara squeezed my arm. I squeezed back. We felt the shimmering possibility that t ...more
Joe Valdez
Mar 29, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Discovering a great novel like White Oleander and not being able to finish Janet Fitch's two subsequent books is best dramatized by the Warner Bros. animated short One Froggy Evening from 1955, where a man discovers a singing and dancing frog who when paraded before an audience, reverts to a normal frog. If I had a stick, I'd poke the author. At 816 pages in hardcover (roughly 264,625 words), The Revolution of Marina M. is hardly mute, but the psychological complexity of Fitch's characters, ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy Yingling
So soon after reading “The Heart’s Invisible Furies” by John Boyne I really didn’t see myself being able to sit down and ingest another long and emotionally charged saga; a girl needs to recharge between such books, they are awesome but mentally and physically draining. But the book gods sometimes throw two such books at you so close together and of course I just couldn’t help myself, who needs sleep and tissues are on sale since it’s Winter, so I’m covered.

I love everything Russian well at lea
Helene Jeppesen
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
“End of Book 1”. I only just now realized that this epic story is not the end of our journey together with Marina M. I’m not exactly sure how to feel about that, but for now let’s just focus on this the first book.
“The Revolution of Marina M.” is the story of Marina growing up in Russia and going through her own revolution parallelled to the Russian revolution of 1917. Marina is a dynamic character who starts out as a giggly, studious and passionate girl growing up in the aristocracy of Petrogr
Roman Clodia
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
350 pages into an 800 page tome and I'm throwing in the towel on this one. Want to know what it's like? It's as if Twilight's Bella Swan were put down in St Petersburg in 1917 - she wants oh so desperately to be a revolutionary (despite, or because of, her bourgeois, super-comfortable background) but in reality all she can do is shuttle between her two love interests, wringing her hands and wittering on about Kolya's hairy chest and honey scent...

I should have known from the start when we have a
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, reviews
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 ...more
Erin Clemence
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I am so grateful this novel is finished. I actually committed my Sunday night (of a long, holiday weekend no less) into finishing this book. I was too far along to DNF it and I have so many more exciting novels to get to. Needless to say, mission accomplished.

I am a huge fan of Janet Fitch, in general. “White Oleander” and “Paint it Black” are both poignant and powerful novels that gripped me from the first page. The only thing these two novels have in common with Fitch’s new endeavour, “The Re
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Dean Cummings
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“There are points in one’s life where it’s possible to turn back, and we know them when they come, even when we don’t choose to take that option.”

It is at the halfway point of the book that Marina Makarova makes this statement, but even as I read it, I already knew her as a young woman who burns with a blazing inner intensity.

Some rely on reason when making crucial life decisions, others gravitate to the safe and predictable answers, and of course there are those who allow others to make most
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
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kate Olson
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 08, 2017 marked it as abandoned
DNF @ 20% (loc 2464) I enjoyed the history and politics. Sixteen-year-old Marina was bland and insufferable. I was far more interested in her revolutionary friend Varvara. When Marina meets up with the poet Genya, and I found out this was just Book 1 of 2, I realized that I couldn’t spend 600+ more pages with her. She’s an empty vessel who flits from one thing to another. On an emotional level, I didn’t understand how she became so eager to shed her privilege and why she was so invested in overt ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
****Spoiler alert****
I just finished this 1100 page beauty of a book after 48 hour holiday reading bender. I have been with Marina through her father, Genya, the archangel, Varvara, Volya and Ukashin, all these people who want to tell this independent, smart, free spirit of a girl what or who she should be. I just got to the last page of this sweeping lovely scary addictive story and I want resolution to the revolution of Marina M. Yet, I get to the end to find "end of book 1." The author is wor
Ella much to say....I think this is the wordiest review I have ever written, here goes....

When I started writing this review, I had no idea there will be a sequel!!!!!
This was one very long and beautifully written and well researched book about the Russian revolution, which has been in the making for over 10 years, wow!!!!
It helped a lot that I was born and raised in Leningrad (I know it is St. Petersburg now, but I was born and raised in Leningrad), and all the neighborhoods are fami
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Set during WWI in St Petersburg, Russia, Marina Makarova is a young woman whose sheltered privileged life made her ignorant of her surroundings and its less fortunate people. But everything changes when she meets Varvara. She introduces Marina to the life of less privileged. Together, they explore poorer parts of the city, witnessing suffering of the people.

In summer 1916, Marina volunteers by assisting the British embassy with its program of distributing parcels to wounded Russian soldiers retu
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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!!
Do you love Russian literature? Do you think an American can measure up in writing a book of historical fiction set in Russia? I am here to tell you, she can!!

So many things made this one of the best books I read in 2017. It is a story of the Russian Revolution told through the eyes and heart and mind of a budding teenage poetess. I don't think that has been done very often, if ever. It is Janet Fitch's homage to Tolstoy, Pushkin and Russian poets.

Marina M! What a character. She explodes and e
Mary Rakow
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Janet Fitch is generous to writers and generous to her readers. This is most apparent in her newly released third novel, The Revolution of Marina M. which interweaves the Russian Revolution and the personal journey of the protagonist, a young poet Marina.

If you start books the way I do, and read the Acknowledgments first, you'll see the depth of original research in Russia and the States that gives rigor and authenticity to this tale. And if you then open somewhere in the middle, say, on p. 409
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve just spent a week in the throes of Marina M’s revolution. What a rollicking ride it has been.

Janet Fitch has made remarkable use of research, describing the 1916-19 streetscapes of the Russian Revolution and the technical aspects of everything from photography to railroads. She shows you how the black markets work and how the revolution came to villages. She can describe a room, a forest, clothing and a table like no other. Fitch can also write poetry that might be typical of what young poe
Lolly K Dandeneau
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
via my blog:
'My younger self looks up. She senses me there in the room, a vague but troubling presence, I swear she catches a glimpse of me in the windows reflection- the woman from the future, neither young nor old, bathed in grief and compromise, wearing her own two eyes. A shudder passes through her as a draft.'

One of my favorite books of all time is White Oleander by Janet Fitch, which I intend to review and post here, as I read it recently again. For n
J.S. Dunn
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
If sheer weight earned stars, then this might be a 3 or 4. Lots of gushing and hyperbole on the Big Publisher Jacket Copy, donated by Inhouse Authors Eager To Comply. Don't you believe it. Sometimes the 800 page emperor isn't wearing clothing.

The tale is a large set piece for telling the history of the soviet revolution of 1916 in a very linear fashion and including bits we might not want to hear. Just like castor oil. No redemption comes from having a main character who pops up in every pos
Kati Berman
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
I just couldn't get into this book and was not going to invest my time in reading an 800 page book I didn't enjoy. It's not often I don't finish a book, but as I get older, I find sometimes you just have to give up. So, maybe the two star is unfair, since I didn't finish it. ...more
Sarah Mac
It's been several days since I finished this, & I'm still struggling to compose a decent review. So...this will be less about specifics & more about my general impressions.

It's a riveting, exhausting read, set in another country 100 years ago & yet strangely illuminating to our present. It never tries to disguise or ignore the problems inherent in its cultural underpinning, yet much of the conflict is extremely personal & would be just as painful in any other setting. It takes place during a ma
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am giving it five starts being fully aware that it is a very solid four-star read with the exceptional research, and that research deserves more than an extra star.

I was very apprehensive about this novel - an American writing a novel about Russia and Russians is always a premise for failure. I am Russian, and I know how Americans are different from Russians. I am not going to speculate here what culture is better and if there is a cultural cushion in the USA.
One thing for sure, from my pers
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. I love Janet Fitch--I think I've read White Oleander like five times. And I'm a Slavist. So I was so excited when I saw that Janet Fitch was writing a book about the Russian Revolution. However, this book was b-r-u-t-a-l. It might be the worst book I've read in years, and it pains me to say that given how much I like her work normally. I think the problem is that the book has no idea what it wants to be. Is it a romance story? A sweeping Russian epic about the ...more
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Janet Fitch was born in Los Angeles, a third-generation native, and grew up in a family of voracious readers. As an undergraduate at Reed College, Fitch had decided to become an historian, attracted to its powerful narratives, the scope of events, the colossal personalities, and the potency and breadth of its themes. But when she won a student exchange to Keele University in England, where her pas ...more

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The Revolution of Marina M. (2 books)
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Articles featuring this book

The author of White Oleander takes readers inside the St. Petersburg bourgeoisie in The Revolution of Marina M . Fitch tells us about her...
29 likes · 18 comments
“but for poetry one needs one’s native tongue. The voice of the soul is not so easily translated.” 2 likes
“At times like this I surprise myself, how I’ve managed to create something of a life on this foggy shore out of the broken pieces of myself, scavenged from the sea like flotsam. Or is it jetsam…it irks me not to know the difference.” 2 likes
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