An epic and engrossing novel set at the beginning of the twentieth century, THE ODESSANS is the story of three families from Odessa in the Ukraine: the Russian Petrovs, the Jewish Geibers, and the Teslenkos, who are of Ukrainian and Polish descent. Throughout years of war, famine, political struggle and incredible hardship, their deep friendships sustain each of the families. Their lives are rent by tragedy; some friends are hounded by anti-Semites, while others join opposite sides in the Civil War or are forced to flee to Odessa. But through it all, their characteristic good humour and faith in each other enable their close circle to survive.
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.