It is 1915 and what can save Russia?
In all its spectacular hypocrisy the Tsarist regime is leading the war effort - untrained soldiers are being sent out onto the battlefield without boots or rifles, and food and fuel shortages maim the nation at every turn. What can save Russia? Millions of refugees, deserters and prisoners of war criss-cross the vast continent in the hope of a different life, while the seedy underbelly of cabaret nightclubs proliferate to soak up the lost. What can save Russia? After joining the Entente Powers in 1914, Russia leaves behind the Belle Epoque, with its whimsy and bohemia, only to face the devastating losses and retreats in the Eastern Front, 1915.
In the words of the great Russian novelist Dostoyevsky - only beauty can save the world.
Take Ink & Weep is a story of four remarkable Russian poets in their early twenties: Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak, Osip Mandelstam and Marina Tsvetaeva. Their lives, their love affairs and their poetry attempt to make sense of the mayhem of war, the rise of Bolshevism, the fall of the Romanovs and the powerful role that Art plays in assuaging the human spirit. These four poets are the darlings of their cities and their popularity attests to the beauty that is salvageable in the war-torn lives of Russia. From being the most lauded poets of their day Akhmatova, Pasternak, Mandelstam and Tsvetaeva would go on to become victims of Stalin's Red Terror but for now, this novel tells the story of one year in their lives.
Take Ink & Weep is a poetic phrase from Boris Pasternak and speaks to the importance of giving witness, no matter the cost, to the great human dramas; from unrequited love to the carnage of war.
About the Author
Elizabeth Guy was born in Australia and currently lives part of the week in Sydney's inner city and the rest, in the Blue Mountains. She is a full-time writer and a part-time tutor and an education consultant. Take Ink & Weep is her first historical fiction to be followed by Abandoned by God, set in the tumultuous year of the Russian Revolution. Elizabeth's doctorate was awarded by the University of Sydney (The Poetics of the Nation State). Elizabeth is also the author of The Alchemy of Poetry: A Reader's Guide to Understanding Poetry (2020). She has worked and traveled extensively throughout a number of places, including Russia and South America.