letters
to an unknown audience
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The birches here look Russian/  /July 29, 2011

"Thank goodness you found us," Natalia Dmitriyevna Solzhenitsyn said, in Russian. "I thought you got lost."

"I did, a little."

"Well, it happens all the time."

"The birches here look Russian," I said.

"But they aren't, really," she said. "The birches here are fat, even a little gnarled. In Russia, they are tall and thin and straight."

That's David Remnick, talking to Natalia Solzhenitsyn, whose husband, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, was a dramatically brave dissident against the Soviet Union and who was living at the time in Vermont. Quoted in Remnick's article "The Exile: Solzhenitsyn in Vermont," republished in his Reporting.

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