Alexander Vassilieff is a descendent of the colonists who are personified in his first epic novel, a biography of his family.
ODYSSEYA - An Epic Journey from Russia to Australia
"A fascinating and moving Australian immigrant saga set against the backdrop of ancient and modern Russian history."
Alex was born in Shanghai, China. At the age of three, he was taken to Harbin and at nine, in 1951, to Sydney, Australia. After an active career as a Professional Engineer and a long record of civic and community involvement, he retired and lives with his wife Alexandra in Castle Hill. They have two children and four grandchildren. In Nov 2008 he was awarded as Laureate-grand-finalists in a Sydney Book Festival.
The author provides short chapters with to the most part, clear points and conclusions. At its finest, Vassilieff uses language so well that the reader is prompted to learn more about Russian art and through this, to consider some of the darker aspects of the story. This is very good writing and the points made are subtle and wry with a generous humour. There is very little convoluted or over emotional indulgence and the story flows clearly and with almost no dull patches. The author has packed around his family's history some interesting asides about cuisine, theosophy, art, music and literature, the effects of the war on ordinary lives and the hard work, sense of freedom and ultimately the development of families thrust into a new and totally different country.
The introduction is very well managed. The author has chosen to highlight the period of Russian history that ordinary or lay readers often do not understand - the effects of the arrival of the Viking warriors and how this can be traced and understood to have lead to the fall of the Romanov Empire are excellently drawn together. Spanning Old Russia to the Russian Diaspora., the content provides much historical information sourced from a diverse collection of Russian chronicles and history. However the human interest is continually brought to the fore through the interweaving of personal accounts, reflection and, as the author attests, an anthropological and forensic application to what he recalls and has been told.
As I was writting my memoirs I understood the words uttered by a famous 19th Century Danish Writer and Philosopher. "Life must be lived forward but it can only be understood backwards"
The thoughts of another famous novelist an American inspired me with his words -"I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today."