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James K

A Russian Summer by James Keogh

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My first book is complete, a novella just short of 20k words, twenty-one chapters, finishes publishing next week. 

A Russian Summer by James Keogh

One summer well before the Bolshevik revolution, when Russia was a noble country, young Alexei, as was the custom of the time, left the city with his family, for the countryside. It was a time of discovery, excitement, longing, and also sadness. A time in which he made new acquaintances and fought battles with himself, as the child he still was struggled free from many constraints into a world of dangerous possibilities.

"Gandalf  237 - I’m caught in your web.  A good start. Thanks for your work.  Looking forward to an adventure into a fascinating time and place in history."

This is the first book by James Keogh, his first essay into the world of published stories. It is a modest tale of life in another century, in another country, and as such is set in a world probably unfamiliar to the reader. The style and language used are such as to reflect this different world. At the same time the theme the story evokes is one which is common throughout history. So whilst being a historical romance, it embarks on that familiar voyage of self-discovery, questioning, and struggle. A battle the protagonist engages in, both with his family, society, new found friends and acquaintances, and most importantly himself.

We were living in Moscow where my parents had rented a house. It was a short walk across the river to the Alexander Gardens and I used to go there each day. Usually the mornings, but sometimes at dusk. From where I entered the park you could see the Borovitskaya Tower with it's green roofed spire. Of course, the place was not the same in summer as it was covered with the winter snow. Honestly, I can't say which time of year I preferred the most, but the warmth of the sun lifted my spirit.

No one interfered with my freedom. I was preparing for university with the help of a private tutor. I didn't work much, neither did my tutor, a Frenchman. He'd arrived in Russia as a stop on a sort of world tour of the northern hemisphere. Much of his time was spent in bed, a fixed expression on his face. I had difficulty deciding if he was crazy or lazy, most probably he was intoxicated. My father treated me with kindness as was his gentle nature. My mother hardly noticed me, although I was her only child. She was ten years older than my father and occupied her own world.

I felt a sense of freedom that enveloped me at the same time as the summer sun climbed into the sky. My life was one of expectation, I dreamt of what might be and harboured fantasies which kept me company at night. As I walked through the greenery that lent an air of calm to the busy city, an oasis that both consoled and angered my being, I yearned for things to happen and yet I was at the same time comfortable doing nothing. It would be true to say I was struggling with my own self, but it was not an internal war, more the highs and lows of riding the waves of life.

 

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