Russian Winter

by Daphne Kalotay | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1554686725 Global Overview for this book
Registered by HoserLauren of Burlington, Ontario Canada on 9/18/2011
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Sunday, September 18, 2011
Got this from HarperCollins to review.

From Chapters:
When she decides to auction her remarkable jewellery collection, Nina Revskaya, once a great star of the Bolshoi ballet, believes she has drawn a curtain on her past. Instead, the aged dancer finds herself overwhelmed by memories of her homeland and of the events -- both glorious and heartbreaking -- that changed the course of her life half a century before.

It was in Russia that Nina first learned to dance, that she fell in love with a dashing poet, that she and her dearest companions became victims of Stalinist aggression and that a terrible discovery led to a deadly act of betrayal -- and to a daring and ingenious escape that eventually brought her to the city of Boston.

Nina has never shared the dark secrets of her heart. But two people -- an associate director at the auction house and a Russian professor looking for the key to his own ambiguous history -- will not let the past rest, and they find themselves unravelling a literary mystery whose answers will hold lifechanging consequences for them all.

Journal Entry 2 by HoserLauren at Toronto, Ontario Canada on Saturday, October 01, 2011
Nina Revskaya was one of the great stars of the Russian ballet during a perilous time for her country. Nina escapes Russia to Boston, where we meet her as an elderly lady who is selling off her jewelry collection. She is frustrated by her body starting to fail her and for other reasons that, at the start of the story, the reader is unsure of. The process of selling off her jewels brings back memories of Nina during her ballet days, when she met her husband Viktor, danced with her best friend, and watched a good friend taken by Stalin's government for crimes he did not commit. Nina's memories also come back when she is contacted by Grigori Solodin, a translator of Nina's husband's poetry who has a necklace that exactly matches some of the jewels that Nina has put up for auction. Some of her memories as painful as she remembers her life in Russia.

This book was a little hard to get in to because I had problems reconciling the sweet Nina of the past versus the crusty Nina of the present. Obviously something makes her this way but it takes a very long time to figure out. Once you realizes what it is that Nina believes happened and how she reacts to it, you become much more invested in the book. I think that a little could have been cut out of the story to get to this point sooner because I enjoyed the novel quite a bit at this part but I felt it took a bit long to get there.

The novel also gives an idea of how normal people coped in the Stalin era. There were worries about spies and being reported on, about doing nothing wrong and still being arrested, about having one person say something bad about you which could ruin everything, and even about taking a train stop a few stops too far and being where it is illegal to be. These people had to be so careful about everything it's a wonder that any of them had any fun.

Journal Entry 3 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Sunday, October 02, 2011
This book is with me :)

Journal Entry 4 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Thursday, October 13, 2011
Nina Revskaya is a former ballerina with the Bolshoi ballet. She is now living in Boston in a wheelchair and has decided to auction her precious jewelry. She believes this might ease her mind about the memories of her past life.

Nina auditioned and was accepted into the Bolshoi ballet school. She dedicated her life to her dance. All around her Stalin made his mark and people disappeared into the night. Neighbours informed on each other. People were packed into small apartments and life was tough. Nina seemed to be on the outskirts of all this.

Nina falls in love with a renown poet, Viktor and though him meets Gersh, a Russian Jew and composer. This was not a safe friendship as jews were persecuted during Stalin's years in power.

As Nina in Boston reflects on her life she is approached by Grigori Solodin, a translator of Nina's husband's poetry. He has a matching piece to her amber earring and bracelet. Of course, he wants some answers which Nina does not want to face. Slowly the mysteries get unraveled.

I enjoyed this book and felt the pace was just right. I loved learning about Stalin's regime and especially about the rigors of the Bolshoi ballet.

Journal Entry 5 by HoserLauren at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Sunday, October 07, 2012
This book is back with me.

Journal Entry 6 by HoserLauren at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Thursday, January 17, 2013
Mailed today for the debut swap.

Journal Entry 7 by wingAzukiwing at Miami, Florida USA on Sunday, February 03, 2013
Book has arrived. Kind of an unusual story and different from what I usually read, but does sound like a nice tale, thanks.

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