The Memory Artist
Allen & Unwin $29.99 pb, 300 pp, 9781760292867
For Pasha Ivanov, memory is 'a warped wound, with a welt or bruise that had arrived inexplicably late'. As the son of political dissidents in Moscow during Brezhnev's rule, his childhood memories wend between impressions of his mother leaning over the typewriter, her back's incline 'like a mountain, severe and strong', and the activists who gather in their small flat copying banned poems and articles. Among them is the trace of Pasha's absent father and the silence surrounding that absence. As Pasha reaches adulthood, just as Gorbachev with his glasnost or openness arrives, the inheritance of lost history begins to reveal its injuries.