librerialondonSubtly Worded: Teffi
Peter Pomerantsev, writing for the London Review of Books, explores Teffi’s clever and humane writing that looked back toward Russia even as she was living in exile: “How does a comic writer describe a world that has stopped being funny? What to say when the system you satirise is swept away, when parts of the population are killed, when the survivors become refugees, drifting away en masse but it’s unclear where to? Teffi was faced with these questions as she tried to make sense of revolution in St Petersburg, as she fled through the Civil War, as she crossed the Black Sea along with other refugees to start a new life in a place which would in turn be engulfed by fascism and war. By the time she left Russia she was one of its most famous journalists and short-story writers, a favourite of both Lenin and the tsar, with her own brand of ‘Teffi chocolates’ and perfume. She was best known for a bittersweet tone that left it unclear whether one was to laugh or cry: ‘A joke is not so funny when you are living inside it. It begins to seem more like a tragedy,’ she wrote more than once. ‘My life has been one long joke. Therefore a tragedy.’”
Read the full review by subscribing to the LRB here: http://bit.ly/2mxhTZq
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- hopesmitheryDefinitely adding to the to-read pile!
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