The Madonnas of Leningrad

by Debra Dean | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0007215061 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Elphaba71 of Bingham, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on 6/30/2007
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9 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Elphaba71 from Bingham, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Saturday, June 30, 2007
From Booklist
*Starred Review* Her granddaughter's wedding should be a time of happiness for Marina Buriakov. But the Russian emigre's descent into Alzheimer's has her and her family experiencing more anxiety than joy. As the details of her present-day life slip mysteriously away, Marina's recollections of her early years as a docent at the State Hermitage Museum become increasingly vivid. When Leningrad came under siege at the beginning of World War II, museum workers--whose families were provided shelter in the building's basement--stowed away countless treasures, leaving the painting's frames in place as a hopeful symbol of their ultimate return. Amid the chaos, Marina found solace in the creation of a "memory palace," in which she envisioned the brushstroke of every painting and each statue's line and curve. Gracefully shifting between the Soviet Union and the contemporary Pacific Northwest, first-time novelist Dean renders a poignant tale about the power of memory. Dean eloquently describes the works of Rembrandt, Rubens, and Raphael, but she is at her best illuminating aging Marina's precarious state of mind: "It is like disappearing for a few moments at a time, like a switch being turned off," she writes. "A short while later, the switch mysteriously flips again." Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Journal Entry 2 by Elphaba71 at on Saturday, January 05, 2008

Released 12 yrs ago (1/5/2008 UTC) at

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Adding to the shelves

Journal Entry 3 by cally-c from Alfreton, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Saturday, January 05, 2008
Was delighted to find this at Costa, it has been on my wishlist for a while!

Journal Entry 4 by cally-c from Alfreton, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Monday, September 15, 2008
Very much enjoyed reading this, a very moving story which unfolds as the main character, Marina's health is failing.
Great characters, good story.

Journal Entry 5 by cally-c at By Mail, A RABCK -- Controlled Releases on Monday, September 15, 2008
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Congrats on winning my RABCK draw, Alejanda - hope you enjoy this!

Journal Entry 6 by cally-c at A fellow BookCrosser, A RABCK -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, September 25, 2008

Released 11 yrs ago (9/25/2008 UTC) at A fellow BookCrosser, A RABCK -- Controlled Releases

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Sent to Alejanda for my Wings RABCK.

Journal Entry 7 by Alejanda from Pori, Satakunta Finland on Thursday, October 16, 2008
This book arrived yesterday, thanks a lot!

Journal Entry 8 by Alejanda from Pori, Satakunta Finland on Friday, November 28, 2008
I can't read just now, so Niksu can read this before me. I can read this book after her some better day. Happy reading.

Journal Entry 9 by wingNiksuwing from Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Thursday, December 04, 2008
Looks interesting! Thanks Ale for loaning this to me. I'll return it back to you when I've finished with it. I know you'll give me plenty of time to read this. Take care!!

Journal Entry 10 by wingNiksuwing from Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Sunday, April 26, 2009
Such a sad and heartbreaking story. Really good book that made me cry.

I have visited both Leningrad at the 80's and few years ago Hermitage in St.Petersburg. Hermitage is something that needs to see in own eyes. It is a place beyond description. That's why it was a bit odd that the author went to St.Petersburg and Hermitage after the book was ready. But well, she's not the only one writing an novel without seeing the place in it at all.

My big thanks to dear Alejanda for borrowing this book to me. It is worth reading and it gets better towards the end. You'll get this book back latest at the Metallica gig in your hometown:)

Journal Entry 11 by Alejanda from Pori, Satakunta Finland on Monday, August 03, 2009
At "home" again. Still tbr.

Reserved for Bookgeo

Journal Entry 12 by Alejanda at Pori, Satakunta Finland on Sunday, November 13, 2011
Very sad, but good story.

Next to Bookgeo. Hippa!

Journal Entry 13 by wingBookgeowing at Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Friday, November 18, 2011
Thanks so much for this book, Alejanda! It looks exactly like my kind of a book, really adorable. And surely it will not diminish my travel fever for the nowadays St. Petersburg either :).

Journal Entry 14 by wingBookgeowing at Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Emotional story with strong reflections of Marina's years as a young woman in the turmoil of war-time Leningrad. And also heartbreaking storytelling about growing old, fragile and vulnerable due to Alzheimer's disease. Touching life destiny for this remarkable lady.

This book also had very vivid descriptions of the queen of the art museums, the famous Hermitage. Saving its tresures from the war was interesting information as well as the part of Stalin's regime selling some of these paintings to finance Russian politics and development and pretend like this had not happened at all. I looked this up from Wikipedia and found that this is based on true facts.

This book did not stop me hoping to visit the nowadays St. Petersburg and also the Hermitage, I'll be sure to recall this book if I'll be lucky to wander in those grand halls.

I took this to our local BC meeting on Jan 10, 2012 and it found a new reader there.

2012 Keep Them Moving # 2

Journal Entry 15 by Lukutoukka at Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Tuesday, January 10, 2012
I took this today at our Tampere meeting.

Journal Entry 16 by Lukutoukka at Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Friday, March 16, 2012
I really liked this book. It reminded me again how it is possible to survive in horrible circumstances, if you can somehow reserve and nurture that part of you which can see beauty in the world, which always exists in some level, despite everything terrible and ugly things.

The next reader will be Erpax. I'll give her this book when we meet. :)

Journal Entry 17 by wingerpaxwing at Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Thank You Lukutoukka for remembering my wish! Many thanks also for our nice meet-up!

Journal Entry 18 by wingerpaxwing at Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Wednesday, May 02, 2012
This novel shifted smoothly back and forth from Marina’s struggles in Leningrad with starvation and poor conditions during World War II and her present day struggle with Alzheimer’s. It was such a sad and touching novel, comparing and contrasting these two struggles. In its own way, this novel was an extremely beautiful story of real love.

Many thanks!

Journal Entry 19 by wingerpaxwing at Wishlist RABCK, a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases on Sunday, June 03, 2012

Released 7 yrs ago (6/3/2012 UTC) at Wishlist RABCK, a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases

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Enjoy! :)

Tämä kirja oli tarjolla Annimannin "Lauseen mitalla" -pussukassa (9. This way please.). Sitten sain taas toivelistahaun toimimaan ja huomasin kirjan olevan Annimannin toiveissa. Koska pussi oli menossa seuraavaksi viimeiselle pussukan saajalle eli juurikin Annimannille, uskalsin laittaa kirjan matkaan, tulipa kirja sitten valituksi tai ei... :)

Paljon kiitoksia kuriroinnista, Appelsiini! :)

Journal Entry 20 by wingAnnimanniwing at Espoo, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Sunday, June 10, 2012
Thank you very much for this wishlist book, erpax!

Journal Entry 21 by wingAnnimanniwing at Espoo, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Monday, March 25, 2019
A beautiful, moving story of how the present day and the past blend into one in a mind plagued by Alzheimer's. I've been to St. Petersburg / Leningrad and the Hermitage several times and very much enjoyed the setting. It was quite surprising to read, then, that Debra Dean only visited the city after writing the book. Very daring, I'd say! The ending was a bit hasty, but other than that I really liked the book. Thanks for sharing, everyone!

Journal Entry 22 by wingCross-patchwing at Leicester, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Monday, August 19, 2019
Taken from Tanamo’s Places BookRing. All new to me.

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