Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Russian Winter

In Russian Winter, Daphne Kalotay combines a bit of historical fiction, a bit of mystery, and two of my favorite things- ballet and Boston. The novel weaves together three narratives: that of Nina, an elderly, former ballerina, now living in Boston, who danced with the Bolshoi Ballet and defected from Soviet Russia; Grigori, a Russian scholar who believes he has a connection to Nina; and Drew, a woman working for an auction house that's selling a collection of Nina's jewelry. The three narratives become intertwined when a mystery emerges surrounding an amber necklace and Nina's past life.

With the world of the ballet and the Boston setting so prominently featured, I had hoped to like this book more than I did. The mystery is well crafted, if a little predictable, and the depiction Soviet Russia is interesting, but I just wasn't able to connect with the characters. Something about the writing seemed to keep all three narrators at arm's length, which left me feeling a bit cool towards them. At a certain point, I realized that I wasn't so much wrapped up in the story as I was interested in just getting through the book.

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