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, ca...more
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I DO like this book! A lot. I liked the wonderful description of the Hermitage and the paintings there. Sometimes when you take a guided tour of a museum and you get a guide who really knows their stuff ...more
I asked my sister Jane, who was staying with me for the holidays if she would read it for me and tell me about it. She loves to read and I thought she would enjoy it.
A beautiful thing happened. My sister told me the story in such detail and with such emotion that the ch ...more
The Madonnas of Leningrad is a lyrical and elegant novel about Marina, a young tour guide at the Hermitage Museum, during the siege of Leningrad in World War Two and her loosing battle with Alzheimer’s in present day Seattle. The novel shifts smoothly back and forth from Marina’s battles in Leningrad with starvation and bitter cold and her present day battle with Alzheimer’s, comparing and contrasting the two. During the siege, M ...more
Being at the bombing of Leningrad and ...more
This book appealed to me personally, on so many levels.
-My parents born in Ukraine(at that time Russia)and survived the WWII seige of the nazis.
-Art-which I love, (and I also visited the Hermitage museum website, as some o ...more
The story follow the current and past years of an aged woman, Marina, afflicted with Alzheimer's. Her earlier years are set in WWII Russia when she was a tour guide at the Hermitage in Leningrad. Her later years are set in WA state at the time of a grandson's wedding and her visiting daughter's recognition of Marina's current state of health. As I read the Russia years I thought of my reading of "Angela's Ashes" and my feeling of luxury in having ready access to food and comfor ...more
The story is spiritually satisfying as well. The bookends of Marina's life are so unbearably heartbreaking, but there are moments of salvation. Although Marina claims to have no faith, her obvious love of art - in particular the religious art with its Madonnas - becomes her f ...more
If you've enjoyed books like Sarah's Key and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, you'll probably also enjoy this book which ...more
She is leaving him, not all at once, which would be painful enough, but in a wrenching succession of separations. One moment she is here, and then she is gone again, and each journey takes her a little farther from his reach. He cannot ...more
The Madonnas of Leningrad – Debra Dean
(some spoilers ahead)
“Whatever is eating her brain consumes only the fresher memories, the unripe moments”
Initially, I thought this book would be about famous works of art, and it is to some degree. But it is really about the power and pitfalls of memory. Marina is an elderly Russian immigrant living in America. She and her family are experiencing the distressing effects of Alzheimer’s disease. As her memory of recent events decreases, Marina is draw ...more
The Madonnas of Leningrad are paintings that were displayed in a room of the Hermitage Art Museum in Leningrad. Marina, a main character of the story, works as a tour guide in the museum. She falls in love with the art and memorizes each piece of art in the museum when she learns that the artwork is going to be stored in anticipation of German destruction. The stor ...more
One might even say that the advertising term, Borrowed Interest, applies to MADONNAS OF LENINGRAD, so ce ...more
Among the greatest issues are that the story's progression is disjointed and many concepts are not fully fleshed out. However, for all of this novel's flaws, the author's descriptions of human emotion, suffering and hope are impeccable.
The novel also brings about tantalizing descriptions of the Hermitage Museum and sobering imagery of the Leningrad Siege.
Four stars as a means of reconciling the three- and five-star elements of the book.
I felt this could have been longer and more detailed because I hated to see it end. But with that being said, it is greatly appreciated when an author knows when to end a story.
The debut novel by Debra Dean was a pleasant surprise for me. It was a story about a young Russian woman who survives the siege of Stalingrad during World War II. It is also a story about the evacuation of the Hermitage Museum and one woman's missio ...more
Her new novel, THE MIRRORED WORL ...more