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The madonnas of Leningrad
Debra Dean
Adult Fiction DEAN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Russian emigre Marina Buriakov, 82, is preparing for her granddaughter's wedding near Seattle while fighting a losing battle against Alzheimer's. Stuggling to remember whom Katie is marrying (and indeed that there is to be a marriage at all), Marina does remember her youth as a Hermitage Museum docent as the siege of Leningrad began; it is into these memories that she disappears. After frantic packing, the Hermitage's collection is transported to a safe hiding place until the end of the war. The museum staff and their families remain, wintering (all 2,000 of them) in the Hermitage basement to avoid bombs and marauding soldiers. Marina, using the technique of a fellow docent, memorizes favorite Hermitage works; these memories, beautifully interspersed, are especially vibrant. Dean, making her debut, weaves Marina's past and present together effortlessly. The dialogue around Marina's forgetfulness is extremely well done, and the Hermitage material has depth. Although none of the characters emerges particularly vividly (Marina included), memory, the hopes one pins on it and the letting go one must do around it all take on real poignancy, giving the story a satisfying fullness. (On sale Mar. 14) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

During the Siege of Leningrad, staff at the Hermitage removed the paintings for safekeeping but symbolically left up the frames, and the elderly Marina now recalls vividly reimagining the missing works. A much-touted debut; with a West Coast tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Marina Buriakov
Female
Age: 82
Russian
Her granddaughter is getting married; disappears into her memories of World War II.



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