- I profoundly admired Berberova when I was a high school student and read all her books in the French translations published by Actes Sud.
- She wrote short novels about Russian emigrants in exile, especially in Paris, and experienced oppression and exile herself, first with her companion Vladislav Khodasevich and then alone after he died in 1939. While I can't pretend to the same personal experience, my fiction writings revolve around similar themes of people standing outside the mainstream and facing the consequences of power, especially in Paris.
- She lived in Paris for 25 years and then in the United States, specifically she spent many years in Princeton, NJ followed by a stint in Philadelphia, where she died in 1993. Not only are there connections between our geographical paths, but we are both people who have put down roots in the United States after being born in Europe (interpreted broadly), with all the challenges that settling down in a country different from our native one presents. This of course makes the choice of our writing themes a natural one.
- Berberova only became famous after the publisher of the French press Actes Sud rediscovered her writings and systematically published them starting in the mid-1980s, when she was well into her eighties herself. The New Yorker stated in her obituary in September 1993: "her life had two bursts of glory, separated by more than 65 years. The 1st was when she was a young poet in revolutionary Russia, with"emotions fed by protest"... The second began after her retirement from an academic career that she had taken up "when my life as a woman was over". In 1985, her novellas about the half-life of Russian emigres in Paris were discovered by a French publisher named Hubert Nyssen." This speaks volumes about having the courage to stick to one's art despite the lack of public recognition.
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