Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Russian Winter - Book Review

Russian Winter is the story of a Russian ballerina during the time of Stalin and what her choices have made of her life in the present day.

One of the most interesting things about this novel for me was the psychology of the people in Stalin's Russia.  In the time before the internet, and with no or restricted TV, entire generations lived under the belief that there was no other way to live.  In one scene she accidentally crosses into a non communist state and is amazed that there are Bananas for sale and no line.  One of the many examples, but I realize that I am a psychology nerd and should probably move on.

Most books that attempt dual-ling time frames fail to make you as interested in one of the stories.  For most of this book, the modern day story line was the least interesting for me.  While parts of it were very good, and would have been fine as a stand alone novel, I was still reading quickly to get back to 1940's Russia.

There is not a solid resolution to this book.  Which the older I get the more I seem to appreciate.   There are hints, and a few conflicting clues, but in the end you are left to draw your own conclusions.  This can be frustrating, but for Russian Winter it fits. 

Daphne Kalotay created two incredibly believable worlds. I have never had an interest in Russian history or the history of ballet and now I am hooked.  She provided her reference and reading materials at the end of the book and I am looking forward to reading them myself.  It is a great accomplishment for a writer to make you see, taste and touch their world.  It is an even greater accomplishment to make you want to stay there.\


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