An interesting fictionalized account of the Russian Revolution. Beautifully written and well-researched. 800+ pages.  The Revolution of Marina M.  by Janet Fitch  #historial fiction # books #books to read #reading

The Revolution of Marina M

By Janet Fitch


Critical Praise:


"Marina's unlikely bildungsroman proves so gripping that it's hard to put down...Fitch depicts [the Revolution] with devastating accuracy and imaginative power...sprawling, majestic."—Ani Kokobobo, LA Review of Books

"Sprawling, immersive, and heavily researched."—Steph Cha, USA Today

"Marina is by turns adventurous, foolish, romantic, self-destructive and courageous in this extraordinary coming-of-age tale."—Jane Ciabbatari, BBC Culture

"This epic tale from the bestselling author of White Oleander follows Marina Makarova, a young woman living in St. Petersburg at the start of the Russian Revolution in 1916. Looking to escape from her privileged life, she joins the marches for worker's rights-and finds herself falling in love with the movement and a young radical. In this relatable coming-of-age novel, Marina grapples with a changing world and struggles to find her place in it."—Nora Horvath, Real Simple

Buy From Amazon.com

Publisher's Website

Author's Website

*Discussion Questions



1. Describe Marina. Early on in the novel, she leads a life of privilege, yet she is dissatisfied. Why? What does she want? (Okay, sex...but what else?) Do you admire her? In what ways does Marina change over the course of the novel?

2. Follow-up to Question 1: Near the beginning of the novel, Marina says,
I was in love with the Future, in love with the idea of Fate. There's nothing more romantic to the young — until its dogs sink their teeth into your calf and pull you to the ground.

Do you think she is correct: that the idea of future or fate (which one is she actually referring to … or is it both?) is exciting to the young? As you read through the novel, at what point did fate stop being romantic for Marina? When did the the dogs start to "sink their teeth into [her] calf"? By the end of the novel, has Marina changed? In her outlook? Or in her essential character traits? What, if anything, has she learned?

3. What is the political state of Russia early on in the book? Marina describes history as "the sound of a floor underneath a rotten regime, termite-ridden and ready to fall." She is obviously referring to the government of the Czar. In what way is the regime "rotten" and "ready to fall"?

4. Why are the reforms offered up by Premier Prince Lvov — the promise of freedom of speech and assembly, the right to strike, and elections by ballot — insufficient for the radicals? What causes the provisional government to fail?

5. Talk about the effect that Leon Trotsky has as he addresses the crowd at the Cirque Moderne. Is he a typical demagogue out for power and self-aggrandizement? Or does he offer genuine path of reform for the Russian people?

6. What do you think of Marina's best friend Varvara and their relationship? In the fervor of revolution, was Varvara right or wrong in persuading Marina to spy on her father? And what about her father's outing of his daughter?

7. Describe the conditions of life for the population in the months following the October 17 overthrow? How grim is it?

8. Baron Arkady von Princip. Care to talk about him? What was your experience reading about the S&M he subjects Marina to?

9. Returning to the quotation in Question 2 — about how youthful romanticism can turn into a vicious animal — what do you see as the thematic concern of The Revolution of Marina M.? Is it how young people come of age in the midst of life's trials? Is it what happens to bonds of love and loyalty during social and political upheaval? Is a cautionary tale about how revolutions can turn more repressive than the regimes they replace? Or perhaps it's simply offered as a bird's eye view into one of the great events of the 20th century, one that shaped Western politics for decades to come. Or is it something else?

10. What have you learned about the October 17 Revolution that you did not know before reading Janet Fitch's novel? What surprised you most? What did you find most disturbing, maybe horrifying? Where did you find your sympathies falling: with the victors or the vanquished?

11. The novel is 800 pages long. Too long for you? Do you feel the author made some unnecessary detours in order to ramp up the plot line? Or do Marina's many adventures — as a sex slave, as part of a spiritual cult, living with the astronomers — enhance the story for you, giving it life and color?

(Discussion Questions by Litlovers)


Book Summary
From the mega-bestselling author of White Oleander and Paint It Black, a sweeping historical saga of the Russian Revolution, as seen through the eyes of one young woman

One of Entertainment Weekly‘s Must-Read Books of Fall 2017 A PopSugar Favorite Book of 2017

St. Petersburg, New Year’s Eve, 1916. Marina Makarova is a young woman of privilege who aches to break free of the constraints of her genteel life, a life about to be violently upended by the vast forces of history. Swept up on these tides, Marina will join the marches for workers’ rights, fall in love with a radical young poet, and betray everything she holds dear, before being betrayed in turn.

As her country goes through almost unimaginable upheaval, Marina’s own coming-of-age unfolds, marked by deep passion and devastating loss, and the private heroism of an ordinary woman living through extraordinary times. This is the epic, mesmerizing story of one indomitable woman’s journey through some of the most dramatic events of the last century.
Looking for more reading suggestions?
Visit Our Blog
Browse A Little
Sign Up For Our Free Newsletter
Member Log in
PBR book reviews and Reading guides for book clubs
Sign Up For Our Free Newsletter
Reading & Lifestyle Planner Printable
10 Books I Can't Stop Recommending