The memoirs of Ariadna Efron provide an intimate and indispensable perspective on the poet Marina Tsvetaeva's life and work, told from the point of view of her daughter. This wrenching story about the difficulty of living with genius charts Efron's relationship with her parents as they navigate art and exile.
Efron's rapport with her mother, already intense, became strained under the hardships imposed by early twentieth century Russian political upheaval. Efron recounts the family's travels from Moscow to Germany, to Czechoslovakia, and finally to France, where, against her mother's advice, Efron decided to return to Russia. Nemec Ignashev draws on Efron's short stories and her mother's notebooks to supplement the original memoirs. Haunting and poignant, No Love without Poetry completes extant historical records on Tsvetaeva—and showcases Efron as a literary force in her own right.
“[Efron’s] memoir is the work of a delicate and skilled writer. It plunges into a past before the darkness descended, brilliantly re-creating a childhood world (often with great humor), and takes us into what Ignashev describes as ‘the luminous, magical fantasy world of her mother’s poetry.’ It is also a lyrical portrait of her parents that is profoundly loving.” —Liam Carson, Poetry Ireland Review
"Diane Nemec Ignashev’s translation of these memoirs and the textological work she invested . . . [are] outstanding." —Olga Peters Hasty, author of How Women Must Write: Inventing the Russian Woman Poet (Northwestern University Press, 2019)
“Diane Nemec Ignashev’s translation of Ariadna Efron’s memoirs gives a varied selection of writings in a rendering that is both punctilious and lyrical. The book is not only a rich and valuable source on the life and work of Tsvetaeva, as its subtitle advertises, but proof that Ariadna Efron was herself a wonderful writer. The book will attract not only fans of Tsvetaeva, but anyone with an interest in Russia in the early twentieth century or Russian emigre life of the 1920s and 30s.” — American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages