Chronicle of the Left Hand
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The story of James Lloydovich Patterson and his family is a fascinating glimpse into post-Civil War life in America. The memoir, told in the first person by his grandmother, Margaret Glascoe, the daughter of a sharecropper, makes for a poignant account that resonates even today. Patterson adds his own insightful commentary and reflections throughout the chronicle.
In 1932 Margaret Glascoe's only son Lloyd Patterson traveled to Moscow with Langston Hughes and other African Americans at the invitation of the Soviet government. Lloyd met and married Vera Aralova, a theatre designer and artist. They had three sons, James, Lloyd Jr., and Tom. James was born on 17 July 1933 in Moscow. When James was two years old, he was invited to play the crucial role of an interracial toddler in the 1936 classic Soviet film CIRCUS. Later, he attended the Nakhimov Naval School in Riga and the Naval Academy in Leningrad. He served in the Soviet Navy as an officer on a submarine. Film and the Navy were not his calling but poetry was. At age seven he wrote his first poem, and in 1962 he graduated from the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow. In 1963 Molodaya Gvardiya published his first poetry collection Russia, Africa.
During the uncertainty of the 1990s in Russia, James and his mother Vera (now deceased) decided to move to the United States. They made their home in Washington, DC.
Chronicle of the Left Hand by James Lloydovich Patterson was originally published by Molodaya Gvardiya Publishers, Moscow, in 1964 (Khronika levoi ruki). This is the first translation in English and the first time it is published outside of Russia.