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‘Gorsky’ by Vesna Goldsworthy

91PAPidC2rL-880x1255A captivating tale of big money, Russian beauty and good books.

A bold and brilliant re-rendering of F. Scott. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Vesna Goldsworthy plays out the class and caste tensions of Fitzgerald’s East Coast versus West Coast classic, but set among London’s new immigrants of Russian Nouveau Riche.

Born out of the ashes of communism, Russia’s new capitalism witnesses the rise of the oligarch and the most enigmatic is Gorsky. Wealthy beyond imagination, he spends his money not on buying football clubs, but in his singular, obsessive pursuit of the love of his life Natalia Summerscale. To this end, he recruits Nickola Kimovic to build a grand library in his new Thameside mansion to reflect a taste and culture that Natalia values, but that has ultimately been bought.

At its heart is a love story – not only the story of Gorsky and Natalia or, if you will, Gatsby and Daisy, but also between Goldsworthy and London. She herself says in her Note About the Novel: “It is the city in which I have lived, and which I have loved, for almost thirty years.”

As with The Great Gatsby, Gorsky ends poignantly, but there is a sense of loss that has more to do with the city than its characters. Goldsworthy’s exquisite language portrays London as we have forgotten to see it – its colours, smells, its architectural beauty as testament to a long and tumultuous history – and as a place we call home.

This is an elegant and haunting book full of seething passions, twists and turns, decadence, and distinctly original in its writing despite its roots in Fitzgerald’s classic.

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You can spend an evening with Vesna Goldsworthy at the forthcoming Crickhowell Literary Festival on 10th October at the Dragon Inn from 7.30pm-9pm. Tickets are available online from www.cricklitfest.co.uk

Emma Corfield

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