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 best-selling 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).
©2010 Daphne Kalotay (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers
“A complex story that, in the end, boils down to the simplest of elements: love, fear, disappointment and loss. An auspicious first novel, elegantly written and without a false note.” (Kirkus Reviews)
This is one of those gems you find, not on a bestseller list, but completely by accident! Solid story, great narration and historical accuracy wound up nice and tight, just like a good ballerina!
I really enjoyed this story. I bought it because I am fascinated with Russian society, and this story gave me an interesting glimpse into a more prestigious lifestyle in Moscow. It may be a little slow at first, but by the end I thought it was a nicely woven story showing how your decisions in life affect not only your life but so many others. I love stories that weave a thread so that in the end you are thinking, "Ah, that's what that storyline was all about." This one did this well. The narration was also very well done.
I don't understand the bad reviews. This book has everything, the sophistication and action of "White Nights" defecting Russian dancers, the horror of Stalin's purges in the '50s, the excitement of a jewelry auction, a mystery and expatriot academe all thrown into a tight heartbreaking love story on many levels. Don't miss it. The narrator was wonderful, Russian, Finish, American, French, and a little East Indian, really great listen. Truly great!
When I was in high school, I distinctly remember studying the novel (Huck Finn!) and learning that it takes three things to make a novel - plot, conflict and character. The last one must somehow be transformed by the first two. Well, this author - and her publisher, her very willing accomplice here - must have been absent that day. They had to include the words "A Novel" in the title so you would not confuse it with a grocery list. I gave up on this book 8 hours in - 8 HOURS - because in that entire time we still had no PLOT. We had a situation - famous ballerina gives up jewels for a mysterious reason - and 8 hours in that's still ALL WE HAD. I think only readers who are just mad for stories (and I use that word loosely here) about ballerinas or Soviet Russia should get this book. I found it to be a major snoozefest. The only reason I gave it 2 stars was the narrator's performance, which was very good.
I bought this book to read for my book club. I would not have picked it without prompting. I found the story compelling, but not enough to read it again.
When she fell in love, and then her belief that he had betrayed her.
I found the narrator very easy to listen to. She brought the book alive. I'm not sure I would have finished the book, otherwise.
As a ballet dancer, I was very excited to listen to this book. It was awful, though - the narrator's voice was extremely boring to listen to and grated on my nerves (as did her English-speaking Russian accents). I didn't finish it, but rather scanned a paper copy for the last 200 pages or so. I found that I didn't know who characters were (and honestly didn't care), didn't like the characters, and felt totally unengaged the entire time. There wasn't nearly enough ballet information, either (for a Bolshoi prima ballerina, we got absolutely no insight into the true ballet world). As I scanned the end, there were some interesting developments, but I still feel like I don't understand the main "mysteries" of the story. Perhaps this book is better read than listened to.
I listened for about two hours, total. I just could not relate to any of the characters. Something about the narrator didn't work for me, either. I think she had a hard time making each of the characters sound different.
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