Author Spotlight: Marina Osipova, author of The Cruel Romance

Marina Osipova spotlight

International Writers Inspiring Change (IWIC): Tell us about yourself ...
Marina: I was born in Germany and grew up in Russia where I graduated from The Moscow State Institute of History and Archives. I also have a diploma as a German language translator from the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Languages. I extensively traveled to Austria and Germany on business and privately. For the last seventeen years, I have lived in the United States.
IWIC: Tell us about your writing …
Marina: Inspiration comes from unexpected places. Did I ever dream of becoming a writer? Never. Yet, one month into my life in the US and tired of answering my friends’ questions about America on the phone (and the long-distance calls are so expensive!), I uploaded an eighteen-page account to their e-mails. They were my first excited readers. When later I signed up for an American language course, my teacher requested a written piece in English to evaluate my knowledge of the language. I responded with flash fiction. She said I must publish it. She may have been sorry for her remark since I started to inundate her with my mini-stories every week.
IWIC: Is there a message in your writing …
Marina: Yes, there is: beauty and evil can co-exist, yet brutality is not stronger than human dignity. And also, as one of my readers grasped, “There are no good liberators or bad invaders — there are good and bad people.” Dominated by combat scenes, many books and movies about WWII fail to show what life was like for ordinary people in Stalinist Russia and particularly during that horrible war. With my book I wanted to show a few slices of this life, especially for readers not closely acquainted with Russian history. This book is my way of adding rarely covered details that illuminate an intimate part of the Russian war and post-war history seldom seen in the fiction available for western readers: the women’s war.

The Cruel Romance
IWIC: Tell us about your book …
Marina: The Cruel Romance tells the story of four young people on their different paths through WWII. The fates of a Russian country girl, a Soviet intelligence officer, a German violinist and a Russian intellectual, are irrevocably intertwined in the war not of their choice, forcing them to navigate the unconscionable moral compromises of life. Who will survive? And at what price? The story’s conclusion is set in our time.

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