Rights sold: Russia - AST


This novel is a family saga talking about a constant conflict of fathers and sons, and their responsibility towards each other.

In his Gift of Speech Buida looks at the Russian history of 20th and 21st centuries through the representatives of the most privileged and educated layer of its society, members of the Soviet aristocracy that came into existence after the Bolshevik revolution. Notwithstanding a fantastic concentration of mysterious and tragic events in the life of the Shkuratov clan, its trajectory follows the ups and downs of their native country: first Soviet Union, later the post-Soviet Russia.

The story is told in the first person by Ilya Schramm, a member of Shkuratov family, who was raised by a single mother until the age of 16, and only then was told that he was in fact an illegitimate son of Boris Shkuratov, a member of Communist elite, a popular TV host and political journalist. From this day on, a new world opens for Ilya, he enters the exotic inner circle of Moscow's Soviet aristocracy. For the following thirty years, all kind of events happen to the members of Shkuratov clan and their close friends, most of which end up tragically.

Ilya Schramm who (not without his father's help) became a successful lawyer specializing in international law, has tried to shun the Shkuratovs during all of his adult life, but his love for Shasha, a lover of his half-brother Didim, binds him to the family. Ilya finds documents showing that his paternal grandfather Vissarion Shkuratov, a top-shot at the NKVD in Stalin’s times, was a sadist and murderer, while his wife Margo, Boris Shkurartov’s mother, was an informer who sent many innocent people to the camps. Although both were repressed during the Stalinist purges, in the late fifties they
returned from the camps, regained their former privileges, and secured the future of their son Boris.



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