Saturday, March 19, 2011

Russian Winter-Daphne Kalotay

Russian Winter
Daphne Kalotay
Harper, Apr 5 2011, $14.99
ISBN: 9780061962172

Nearly eighty years old, Nina "The Butterfly" Revskaya was once a renowned prima ballerina at the Bolshoi Ballet. Residing in Boston, she arranges for the Beller auction house to sell her jewelry. Beller agent representative Drew Brooks is curious about the former dancer and her collection; as is Professor Grigori Solodin, who feels connected to the retired ballerina as he translated into English the poems of Nina's husband Viktor Elsin.

As the Russian expatriate looks back at her life in the Soviet Union with remorse and affection, Drew and Grigori also look back. Grigori believes Nona’s collection and the one piece he owns retain secrets to his heritage that remain mostly a mystery to him. Nina loved the theater and her spouse. She cherished her friends Gersh the composer and Vera. However, Stalin and a personal betrayal sent her to America knowing she will never go home again.

With a powerful memoir feel to this exciting character study, readers will enjoy the terrific look at life as a professional dancer with the internationally acclaimed Bolshoi Ballet troupe under the Soviet Union. The story line is enhanced by the mystery of Grigori, but belongs to the aging ballerina who knows her life is in its Russian Winter stage as she looks back to her youth in the home country with fondness and regret.

Harriet Klausner

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