• Madonna From Russia

Madonna from Russia is the story of Lily Bourbon, a beautiful, mysterious Russian woman and her different husbands. When we first meet her, she is about to turn ninety-six – the same age as the twentieth century. Newly arrived from the provinces, the young Lily becomes a prostitute working the streets of Petrograd. Soon she is recruited by the Bolsheviks to a higher category of working woman to service the Communist elite. At the age of twenty-three she makes a fortuitous marriage to Andrei Bourbon, poet, Futurist and artistic colleague of Malevich, Mayakovsky, Burliuk and others. One day Bourbon takes some of Lily’s poems to the official children’s newspaper Pionerskaya Pravda. With the aid of an airbrushed and suitably ‘revolutionary’ biography, her poems are published as children’s books. Andrei Bourbon disappears in the purges and Lily becomes poet laureate and an ideal symbol of the Soviet era. After further marriages and the eventual collapse of the dictatorship, Lily manages to escape Russia for the USA where she marries a naive American communist to start all over again . . .

A contemporary picaresque novel, Madonna from Russia is fiction with Druzhnikov’s unique combination of satire, humour and documentary twist.

Yuri Druzhnikov’s books have sold in their hundreds of thousands in Eastern Europe. Madonna from Russia is in its third Russian edition and was nominated for the ‘Russian National Bestseller’ prize in 2002.

Read The Guardian's Tibor Fischer on Yuri Druzhnikov  


YURI DRUZHNIKOV (1933—2008) was the author of a number of works of fiction and non-fiction. Blacklisted until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the first edition of this novel sold a quarter of a million copies and was deemed one of the ten best Russian novels of the century at the 1999 Warsaw Conference. In 2001 the author was put forward by Poland for the Nobel Prize. He emigrated to the USA in 1987 and was a lecturer at the University of California at Davis.
Bibliographic Data
Date Published 30th June 2005
ISBN Number 9780720612554

Madonna From Russia

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