Jonathan Barnes

Revolutionary Road

The People’s Train

By

Sceptre 388pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

Fleeing the oppression of Tsarist Russia by way of Siberia and Shanghai, the determined young revolutionary Artem Samsurov arrives in Brisbane in 1911. The émigré adopts an Australian name (‘Tom’), takes a menial job ‘lugging carcases of sheep and beef onto ships’, falls for the comely wife of a local lawyer (‘the tigress, Hope Mockridge’) and, as one would expect from a loyal follower of Lenin, soon begins to sow the seeds of revolution in his new home. He publishes a political newspaper, leads strikes and marches, and endures imprisonment, waiting, with the impregnable faith of the devout, for the day when ‘the great truth would break on the workers, and they’d no longer ask for crumbs but for the whole table’. When the revolution happens, he and an Australian friend, Paddy Dykes, return to Russia in time to witness the storming of the Winter Palace and the inaugural day of Bolshevik rule.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,