IN THE BEGINNING goes back to the poet's life before her arrest, interweaving her experiences of growing up in Odessa with those of her childhood friend and future husband Igor Geraschenko. With wit and simplicity Irina describes a biased and turbulent education, being pressured to work for the KGB, the growth of faith that became so important to her in later life, and an impromptu wedding. Ratushinskaya shows how her early experiences moulded her personality, enabling her at a time of almost unbearable pressure to remain true to her own convictions.
Born in Odessa in 1954, Irina Ratushinkskaya is one of the leading contemporary Russian poets. She spent four years in a labour camp for the religious themes in her poetry, deemed 'anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda'. She managed to smuggle out her poems and after a series of hunger strikes, Irina was released and came to Britain.
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