Miloš Crnjanski: Roman o Londonu [London Novel]

The latest addition to my website is Miloš Crnjanski‘s Roman o Londonu [London Novel]. This is a long and sad tale, based on Crnjanski’s own life, about a Russian prince, Nikolai Rodionovich Repnin, and his wife, Nadia,in exile in London. They had fled Crimea in 1922 and travelled around Europe but, because of World War II, are now (late 1947) in London. Initially, they had survived by selling valuables but now they are broke. Nikolai manages to get a few odd jobs but never seems to fit in particularly with the British but nor with the many Poles nor, indeed, with his fellow Russians. Nadia makes and sells dolls but it is not very lucrative. We follow in detail their struggles with housing, jobs, money and, above all, depression over their fate. Both consider suicide. In the end, Nadia goes to the United States, where she has an aunt, and tries to get a visa for Nikolai. This is an excellent novel on the travails of forced exile. It is not available in English but surprisingly, it has just appeared in Italian, forty-eight after its original publication in Serbian.

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