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Russian winter : a novel
2010
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Revskaya (Female), Ballerina, Russian, Retired, Defector, Estranged, Puts up for auction the jewelry she took with her when she left her husband and moved to the states
Genre
Fiction
Topics
Ballet dancers
Auctions
Husbands and wives
Professors
Poets
Marriage
Jewels
Russians
Defection
Setting
Boston, Massachusetts - New England (U.S.)
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Having long since fled her homeland and approaching crotchety old age, renowned ballerina Nina Revskaya has decided to benefit the Boston Ballet Foundation by selling her jewel collection-including a striking amber bracelet-and-earrings set. Local professor Grigori owns a necklace that seems a perfect match-one more bit of evidence that he's somehow tied to Revskaya, though she angrily brushed him aside when they once met. Do the jewels really belong together, and what do they signify for Revskaya? There's the mystery at the heart of this entertaining debut novel, which carries us to the Soviet Union in its darkest days yet does not dwell there. Instead, the novel weaves between past and present to show how layers of misunderstanding led rising Bolshoi star Nina to an act of betrayal involving husband Viktor Elsin, a minor poet once translated by Grigori; childhood friend Vera, also a dancer; and Gersh, an out-of-favor composer. It's a personal tragedy discovered too late but hardly surprising in the environment of repression delicately articulated here. Verdict Affecting and deftly plotted, this is perfect for readers who want an absorbing story overlain with more serious reflection. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/10.]-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Kalotay makes a powerful debut with a novel about a Soviet-era prima ballerina, now retired and living in Boston, who confronts her past as she puts up for auction the jewelry she took with her when she left her husband and defected. Nina "The Butterfly" Revskaya, 79, reveals little about the past to curious auction house representative Drew Brooks as he peruses her cache of exquisite jewelry. Nina likewise rebuffs inquiries from foreign language professor Grigori Solodin, who has translated the works of Nina's poet husband and who offers an additional item for auction: the amber necklace he inherited from the parents he never knew. In extended flashbacks, Nina recalls intimate moments and misunderstandings with her husband, happy and disturbing times with his Jewish composer best friend, and encounters with her own childhood friend. Meanwhile, Drew and Grigori delve into the jewelry's provenance, hoping to learn as much about the jewels as their own pasts. While the Soviet-era romance can lean too much on melodrama, Kalotay turns out a mostly entrancing story thanks to a skillful depiction of artistic life behind the Iron Curtain and intriguing glimpses into auction house operations. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Summary
"Daphne Kalotay captivates in a soaring debut novel. An elegant, compelling puzzle of family, memory and solitude that brings to life modern-day Boston and postwar Russia through a profound love story. Graceful, moving, and unexpected."<br> --Matthew Pearl, New York Times bestselling author of The Dante Club </p> </p> In Russian Winter, the beautiful debut novel by critically acclaimed writer Daphne Kalotay, a famed ballerina's jewelry auction in Boston reveals long-held secrets of love and family, friendship and rivalry, harkening back to Stalinist Russia. Called "tender, passionate, and moving" by Jenna Blum, the New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us, Russian Winter is a perfect choice for fans of the novels of Debra Dean (The Madonnas of Leningrad), Ann Patchett (Bel Canto), and Ian McEwan (Atonement). </p>
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