BASED ON A FASCINATING HISTORICAL INCIDENT: The 1967 defection of Stalin’s daughter to the U.S. was huge news at the time, but many younger readers know nothing about it. This is the first novel written about Svetlana, hewing closely to the basic facts.
AUTHOR’S PERSONAL CONNECTION TO THIS STORY: Schwartz’s father, high-profile lawyer Alan U. Schwartz, did in fact travel under CIA cover in 1967 to Europe to escort Svetlana Alliluyeva to the U.S. She visited the Schwartz family numerous times, when the author was young.
“RUSSIA has been the dominant theme during Mr. Trump’s presidency,” wrote The New York Times recently. As has Putin, the first Russian leader to have consolidated as much power as Stalin had. The PARALLELS BETWEEN THESE TWO RUTHLESS AUTOCRATS are many, as the novel makes clear in its descriptions of Stalinist Russia and its effect on Svetlana.
AUTHOR IS A NATIONAL BESTSELLER, PRIZE WINNER, AND SUCCESSFUL SCREENPLAY WRITER: Known in particular for his fiction writing, Schwartz is also a screenplay writer and journalist who has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The Boston Globe,and Vogue.
“The story, which captures the mysterious Svetlana through her imagined journal entries and letters, as well as Horvath’s ‘editor’s notes,’ is lively and engaging.”—The New York Times Book Review
“John Burnham Schwartz has drawn such a fine and generous portrait of Stalin’s daughter—a difficult, complicated, and deeply sympathetic woman—that I read his novel in a single great draught, and ever since have been worried about Svetlana as though she were a close and troubled friend of mine. The Red Daughter is a lustrous book.”—Lauren Groff
“The Red Daughter is an intimate, intricate look at the collision of geopolitics with a private life: surprising and engaging from beginning to end.”—Jennifer Egan
“The Red Daughter is one of those novels I wish I could have written, if only I were smarter. It’s an act of literary resurrection, bringing Svetlana Alliluyeva back to life and liberating her from her father’s shadow. In these pages we watch a broken human try to piece herself back together, again and again. Her life was endlessly fascinating, often heartbreaking, and ultimately heroic. I don’t think any writer alive could have told her story more beautifully than John Burnham Schwartz.”—David Benioff, co-creator of HBO’s Game of Thrones and author of City of Thieves
“Like an old world alchemist, John Burnham Schwartz takes for his base elements a character who in real life was as famous as she was misunderstood, and he spins gold. We recognize something of ourselves in Svetlana’s complicated and conflicted soul, and through her eyes we have a deeply insightful glimpse of an America that eludes us, but must be apparent to an outsider. The Red Daughter is brilliant, thoughtful, and beautifully imagined—a masterpiece by a writer at his best.”—Abraham Verghese, author of My Own Country
“A woman is haunted by the sins of her father. Schwartz takes the extreme of that dilemma—not just any father: it’s Joseph Stalin—and tells a powerful tale of one daughter’s struggle to free herself and rewrite her own history.”—Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank
“Richly detailed … an insightful and compelling saga of a woman desperately trying to escape her infamous past…Fact and fiction mingle seamlessly in a story of the defection and lonely wanderings of Josef Stalin’s only daughter. ”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“In this gripping historical novel about the defection of Stalin’s only daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, Schwartz explores the wider political context that sharpens private tragedy…. This lovely novel’s strength is the aching portrait of Svetlana: ‘not American, not Russian, neither this thing or that thing but always now between these things, which is the tragedy of my life.’ Filled with historical details that enliven and ground the fictionalized elements, Schwartz’s elegant novel captures the emotion and strain of Alliluyeva’s second life in the U.S.”—Publishers Weekly
“A perceptive exploration of identity, motherhood, and how one woman valiantly tried to shed the heavy mantle of her father’s infamous legacy…Schwartz again demonstrates his adroitness at illustrating the troubled lives of high-profile twentieth-century women.”—Booklist
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