...Son in chains, husband clay,
Her first husband Gumilev was shot for anti Bolshevik conspiracy in 1921 and her son was imprisoned in 1940s. While lining up in a queue to meet her son, she was asked if she could cast this experience into poetry. Her best works followed.
Yet it was Nadezhda who produced in her "Hope Against Hope", the definitive work on life under Stalin, complementing Alexander Solzhenitsyn's three volume Gulag Archipelago.
'Nadezhda' in Russian means Hope. It is difficult to believe that the photograph of Osip Mandelstam on the cover is that of a man in his thirties. It is unacceptable that a human being should be subjected to such terror that he is reduced to such a wreck.
Apparently Stalin was in awe of 'genius'. The physicist Lev Landau was on way to Gulag with a broken rib, when intervention of Pyotr Kapitza saved him. Immediately after Osip was arrested, Stalin rang up Pasternak and asked him if Mandelstam was a genius. Pasternak lectured Stalin about love etc.. Stalin banged the phone down. Pasternak was left with guilt feeling for the rest of his life that he could have but did not save Mandelstam.
A book written without bitterness. It restores ones faith in what human spirit is capable of.