Her estranged husband and mother both die during her imprisonment.It is telling that, of her two most serious crimes-allegedly passing a letter to a foreign diplomat and actively attempting to leave the Soviet Union-the latter was considered more treasonous. Lina is freed in 1956 and leaves the Soviet Union in 1974, largely putting the experience behind her over the next fifteen years.
Their marriage is ill-fated, their move to Russia disastrous, but even before that he was remote, arrogant, disdainful of commitment.
"His lack of basic human feeling could be shocking." As a lover he was rude and unfaithful, and enjoyed emotional chess as much as he did the more conventional kind.
But she is reluctant to tell her story and, in her dying moments, believes the hospital staff to be "guards and wardens in disguise." By this measure, "she never escaped the Soviet Union." Simon Morrison has written a painful, if sometimes incomplete tribute.
Morrison lucidly chronicles Lina's struggle to maintain a life with Prokofiev and, later, simply maintain a life.
Not in the least ofcourse because the love and wars of Lina and Serge Prokofiev serve as exciting, heavy weight material.
By looking at Sergei Prokofiev's relationship to the Spanish-Russian born Lina, we get a sharp look into the life and production of the well known composer.
This is not the definitive book on the Soviet gulag (Anne Applebaum's account goes into far more detail), because as mentioned, the state's silence and Lina's own reluctance to speak of her eight lost years necessarily leave huge potholes in Morrison's narrative.
By all means there are some heartbreaking passages to be had: Lina is feverish on the day she is processed, but nevertheless forced into a cold shower with anti-lice shampoo.
Morrison recounts an instance of an operator disconnecting a call and then stating flatly: "You were perfectly audible, I just decided to cut you off.") The Joseph Stalin of Lina and Serge is both amateur clerk and veteran enforcer. The wartime bread lines return, and the dazzling, exotic Lina is reduced to single motherhood and ration cards.