For You, Madam Lenin

Written by Kat Meads
Review by Elena Maria Vidal

Kat Meads’ exquisite prose brings to life one of the most determined and enigmatic women in history in a story which exemplifies with irony, pathos and dark humor that there is no tragedy like a Russian tragedy. The life of Nadya Krupskaya, wife of the first Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin, is told in vignettes and through fictional historical interviews, mostly from the point of view of Nadya’s devoted mother Yelizaveta Vasilevna.

Yelizaveta watches as her daughter immolates her entire person for the triumph of the Revolution and the glory of Lenin. In striving to build a free new world by destroying the old one, Nadya endures sickness, prison, exile, poverty, an unfaithful and mercurial husband, and ultimately the betrayal of the party for whom she sacrifices herself. Throughout the novel she nourishes hatred and contempt for the bourgeoisie and the monarchy, with particular hatred for the Empress Alexandra. Nevertheless, the day comes when she realizes how difficult it is to carry the burden of supreme power, and like Alexandra must face her own downfall, as Russia falls into the hands of a ruler more tyrannical than any tsar could have imagined.