From Under the Russian Snow is the title of a memoir I’ve written about the most remarkable — and most difficult — year of my life.
At age 50, married and the mother of two children in their early 20s, I left my job as managing editor of a daily newspaper in the
San Francisco Bay
Area in 1995 to move to Russia for a year as the United States Information Agency's Journalist-in-Residence.
There I would travel across the eleven time zones of this enormous country, working with newspaper editors who were struggling to adapt to the new concepts of press freedom and a
. I would become an on-the-scene witness to the second great Russian revolution. I would view Russia from my flat on the embankment of the Moscow River and from my sometimes humorous shoulder-to-shoulder participation in the life of the largest country in the world.
At the same time, I would be embarking on a
that would wrench my life in a way I could never have anticipated when I accepted this assignment after eight years of work and travel in the former Soviet Union. I went with my husband’s
and blessing although it would represent the first longterm separation in our twenty-eight-year marriage. He said he would be waiting for me when I came
. I was counting on that promise but it wasn’t to be.
“Under the snow” (podsnezhnik) is the name of the first flower to appear in the spring in Russia. A symbol of hope and renewal, it’s an apt metaphor for this memoir.
— Michelle Carter
From Under the Russian Snow is the second book to grow out of her experiences in the former Soviet Union. The first, Children of Chernobyl: Raising Hope From the Ashes, was co-written with Michael J. Christensen and published by Augsburg Publishing of Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1993. Augsburg’s Book of the Year, it was presented formally at the American Booksellers Association convention in Miami that year.
Carter, the married mother of two adult children, is also a grandmother. A magazine editor, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The author on the balcony of her Moscow flat.
Michelle Carter is a professional journalist with a thirty-year career in daily newspapering (The Kansas City Star and The San Mateo Times) and a twelve-year stint as a journalism instructor at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California. A graduate of the
of Missouri School of Journalism, she has been writing professionally for most of her adult life.
Watch a YouTube video of an interview with Michelle Carter and Jill Klajic-Ryan of the Sonora Writers Group on From Under the Russian Snow. Click on the logo on the left to view the video.
Story Circle Network reviews From Under the Russian Snow: "Carter’s book certainly delivers the promised depiction of her professional efforts in a dramatically changing country at an extraordinary historical time . . . From Under the Russian Snow provides insights into a different culture and into people like ourselves, with families, friends,
, struggles, losses, and resilience. , , , From the outset, I was engaged by Carter's realistic portrait of her marriage and family dynamics. I felt that I knew these ordinary people; more importantly, I cared about what happened to them." — Phoebe Tussey, Reviewer,
on the logo to read it all.
An excerpt of From Under the Russian Snow won first place in the memoir category of the 2019 San Mateo County Fair. It's titled Women in Russia: It's Complicated. Click on the logo on the left to read the winning essay.