"If you can write, that's great. If you can tell a story, that's even greater. But if you can work a resilient premise into both, you're worth digging to find."

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Black Russian by Vladimir Alexandrov

This autobiography was an especially delightful read, particularly having always wanted to come across a pioneer like Frederick "Fyodor" Thomas. Vladimir did a fine job piecing together Frederick's life; tracing his encounters from Mississippi to Constantinople. This story pales in comparison to anything I've ever read during such a time before.

Most spectacular, outside of noting how passports weren’t required to leave the U.S. during the1800's-early 1900's, was in the way Vladimir presented Fredrick's story. Despite almost loosely tracing Frederick’s life story, that being primarily covering the highlights of his 'celeb' life and career, I could still picture Frederick 'the person' very well… vividly catching glimpses of him switching between customs, mannerisms, and languages to achieve the successes he did while living in Russia. Very charming and sage all rolled into one. Of course too, that detailing how he spoke American English with the Mississippian lisp, but then speaking French flawlessly also helped in allowing me to peer into this remarkable man's character.

Engaging, charming, droll, quite surprising, and sadly moving in large spots, the Black Russian is highly recommended.

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