Debra Dean The Madonnas of Leningrad

ISBN 13: 9780007215065

The Madonnas of Leningrad

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9780007215065: The Madonnas of Leningrad

Bit by bit, the ravages of age are eroding Marina's grip on the everyday. An elderly Russian woman now living in America, she cannot hold on to fresh memories--the details of her grown children's lives, the approaching wedding of her grandchild--yet her distant past is miraculously preserved in her mind's eye. Vivid images of her youth in war-torn Leningrad arise unbidden, carrying her back to the terrible fall of 1941, when she was a tour guide at the Hermitage Museum and the German army's approach signaled the beginning of what would be a long, torturous siege on the city. As the people braved starvation, bitter cold, and a relentless German onslaught, Marina joined other staff members in removing the museum's priceless masterpieces for safekeeping, leaving the frames hanging empty on the walls to symbolize the artworks' eventual return. As the Luftwaffe's bombs pounded the proud, stricken city, Marina built a personal hermitage in her mind--a refuge that would stay buried deep within her, until she needed it once more.

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About the Author:

Debra Dean is the author of The Madonnas of Leningrad and Confessions of a Falling Woman. She lives in Miami and teaches in the creative writing program at Florida International University.



Yelena Shmulenson, an actress and audiobook narrator, is a four-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award. She emigrated to the United States with her family in 1993 from Ukraine. Her theater credits include five seasons with the Folksbiene, two seasons at the Ellis Island Theatre, Enemies: A Love Story in Russian, and The Essence: A Yiddish Theater Dim Sum. On film, she can be seen in The Good Shepherd, Romeo & Juliet in Yiddish, Fire at the Triangle, and A Serious Man.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* Her granddaughter's wedding should be a time of happiness for Marina Buriakov. But the Russian emigre's descent into Alzheimer's has her and her family experiencing more anxiety than joy. As the details of her present-day life slip mysteriously away, Marina's recollections of her early years as a docent at the State Hermitage Museum become increasingly vivid. When Leningrad came under siege at the beginning of World War II, museum workers--whose families were provided shelter in the building's basement--stowed away countless treasures, leaving the painting's frames in place as a hopeful symbol of their ultimate return. Amid the chaos, Marina found solace in the creation of a "memory palace," in which she envisioned the brushstroke of every painting and each statue's line and curve. Gracefully shifting between the Soviet Union and the contemporary Pacific Northwest, first-time novelist Dean renders a poignant tale about the power of memory. Dean eloquently describes the works of Rembrandt, Rubens, and Raphael, but she is at her best illuminating aging Marina's precarious state of mind: "It is like disappearing for a few moments at a time, like a switch being turned off," she writes. "A short while later, the switch mysteriously flips again." Allison Block
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Debra Dean
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom (2007)
ISBN 10: 0007215061 ISBN 13: 9780007215065
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A brilliant and moving debut novel about one woman s struggle to preserve an artistic heritage from the horrors and destruction of World War II, and the ensuing lifelong memories from this extraordinary experience.In this extraordinary first novel by Debra Dean, the siege of Leningrad by German troops in World War II is echoed by the destructive siege against the mind and memory of an elderly Russian woman.Marina, the woman in question, was a guide at Leningrad s famous Hermitage Museum. In the late autumn of 1941, as the Luftwaffe roared over and around Leningrad, she and her colleagues were set the task of taking the thousands of priceless paintings, sculptures and objets d art out of the grand galleries of the former Tsarist Palace and storing them safely against the German bombardment and seemingly inevitable invasion.The German assault threatened to destroy a large part of Europe s artistic history: if Leningrad fell to the Germans, everything that was not destroyed would be looted and given to the Nazis. Marina, whose own parents had disappeared during Stalin s persecution of intellectuals in the 1930s, clings to her hope of becoming an art historian through her job at the Hermitage.The novel shifts between Marina s experiences at the Hermitage during the siege of Leningrad and her current existence as a very old lady in America whose mind has begun to fray. Debra Dean depicts, with subtle skill, how Marina s mind, already ravaged by disease, picks up some incident, object or person at the wedding she s been brought to, and flips back to the dreadful year-and-a-half in Leningrad which has informed her life ever since. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007215065

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A brilliant and moving debut novel about one woman s struggle to preserve an artistic heritage from the horrors and destruction of World War II, and the ensuing lifelong memories from this extraordinary experience.In this extraordinary first novel by Debra Dean, the siege of Leningrad by German troops in World War II is echoed by the destructive siege against the mind and memory of an elderly Russian woman.Marina, the woman in question, was a guide at Leningrad s famous Hermitage Museum. In the late autumn of 1941, as the Luftwaffe roared over and around Leningrad, she and her colleagues were set the task of taking the thousands of priceless paintings, sculptures and objets d art out of the grand galleries of the former Tsarist Palace and storing them safely against the German bombardment and seemingly inevitable invasion.The German assault threatened to destroy a large part of Europe s artistic history: if Leningrad fell to the Germans, everything that was not destroyed would be looted and given to the Nazis. Marina, whose own parents had disappeared during Stalin s persecution of intellectuals in the 1930s, clings to her hope of becoming an art historian through her job at the Hermitage.The novel shifts between Marina s experiences at the Hermitage during the siege of Leningrad and her current existence as a very old lady in America whose mind has begun to fray. Debra Dean depicts, with subtle skill, how Marina s mind, already ravaged by disease, picks up some incident, object or person at the wedding she s been brought to, and flips back to the dreadful year-and-a-half in Leningrad which has informed her life ever since. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007215065

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers. Book Condition: New. 2007. Paperback. A brilliant and moving debut novel about one woman's struggle to preserve an artistic heritage from the horrors and destruction of World War II, and the ensuing lifelong memories from this extraordinary experience. Num Pages: 288 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 196 x 130 x 17. Weight in Grams: 204. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780007215065

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