When Andrei sees the notorious Nina Anishkova walk into the Stray Dog cabaret, it’s love at first sight. In chaotic post-Revolutionary Petrograd, they plunge into a brief passionate affair that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. But Andrei is half-English, and the Bolsheviks threaten to shoot him as a British spy. He flees into exile in London, Nina fails in her desperate attempt to join him, and the gates of Stalin’s Russia slam shut behind her. Will they ever meet again? Will Andrei ever learn that Nina is carrying their child? Not until 1989 does his granddaughter Charlotte learn the answers.
Compassion has been praised for its “multiple layers of memory and history, which gave the sense that everyone belonged to a vast web linking the past and the present.”
Part of the book takes place in the Crimea, and an account of the author’s 2007 research trip to the Ukraine can be found in Last Exit to Yalta on this website.