The Vanishing Futurist by Charlotte Hobson

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Now a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime

The debut novel from award-winning author of Black Earth City: A Year in the Heart of Russia.

When twenty-two-year-old Gerty Freely travels to Russia to work as a governess in early 1914, she has no idea of the vast political upheavals ahead, nor how completely her fate will be shaped by them. In 1917, revolution sweeps away the Moscow Gerty knew.

The middle classes – and their governesses – are fleeing the country, but she stays, throwing herself into an experiment in communal living led by charismatic inventor Nikita Slavkin, inspired by his belief in a future free of bourgeois clutter and alight with creativity. Yet the chaos and violence of the outside world cannot be withstood forever. Slavkin's sudden disappearance inspires the Soviet cult of the Vanishing Futurist, the scientist who sacrificed himself for the Communist ideal.

Gerty, alone and vulnerable, must now discover where that ideal will ultimately lead. Strikingly vivid, this debut novel by award-winning writer Charlotte Hobson pierces the heart with a story of fleeting, but infinite possibility.