Days in the Caucasus by Banine (tr. Anne Thompson-Ahmadova)

a nutshell: this is the captivating memoir of Banine, born in one of Baku’s multimillionaire oil-rich families in 1905, who shares how she came of age in a time of immense sociopolitical turbulence

a line: “Who can tell the importance of dreaming? And of reading!”

an image: I loved Banine’s halcyon memories of the countryside, and of the family’s travels by carriage through the heart of the oil district – surrounded by derricks & cisterns – bathed in the smell of oil that delighted her nostrils

a thought: some of their childhood ‘games’ seriously unsettled me, particularly in Banine’s cousins’ abject hostility towards both women & Armenians from a young age (I know it was more than a century ago, but still I found some of her revelations horrifying)

a fact: I was curious about Banine’s description of New Year being celebrated on 21 March in Azerbaijan to coincide with the first day of spring – it seems more meaningful than the mid-winter one we celebrate in the UK!

want to read Days in the Caucasus? visit here

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