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The Accompanist

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  342 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Doomed to living in her mentor's shadow, Sonechka, a talented but mousy young pianist employed by a beautiful soprano and her devoted, bourgeois husband, secretly schemes to expose infidelities.
Paperback, 96 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by New Directions Publishing Corporation (first published 1985)
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Jun 19, 2013 Mariel rated it liked it
Recommends it for: behave yourself stiller than the water
Recommended to Mariel by: lower than the grass
No matter how many times people tell me that a worm could never aspire to world greatness, I'll never stop waiting and telling myself: you can't die, can't let up, not as log as one person is still walking on this earth. There is still one debt which, maybe, one day, you will recover... If there is a God.

Nina Berberova missed the first crawl. If she would lift up the ends of her ill fitting dress the knees should be blackened with fate. Not a too close call with a brighter star. Sonechka is bo
Mohsen Rajabi
این کتاب، با قطع دوست داشتنی کتاب های جیبی که خود به خود آسان می کنند خواندن کتاب را، دو داستان خوب دارد. هر دو داستان، درونی اند و از دریچه دید شخصیت واحد روایت می شوند.
شخصیت های هر دو داستان (که یکی زن است و دیگری مرد) شخصیت های تنهایی هستند و در ترک غار تنهایی شان احساس ترسی عمیق دارند... آن قدر عمیق که حتی در برابر موقعیت های خوب و مناسبی که جهان خواه ناخواه برایشان مهیا می کند بی اعتنا می مانند... آن قدر عمیق، که این تنهایی به جای آنکه چیزی مقدس باشد، تبدیل به بیماریِ مخرب هم برای فرد و هم
Feb 25, 2017 Jennifer rated it liked it
Short one-sitting read that's engaging and a little depressing.
Feb 22, 2010 Tara rated it really liked it
Berberova's little novel seems simple enough at the start, but there is a prickling emotional intensity that grows as the story progresses. I enjoyed the unexpected twists near the end and overall found this piece quite enjoyable. I'll be on the lookout for Berberova's other works.
Kobe Bryant
Sep 23, 2016 Kobe Bryant rated it liked it
Sad little story
Jul 27, 2015 Mari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
... un essere felice è superiore agli altri (e li schiaccia un po', naturalmente). E non si tratta di perdonarlo, perché è un dono che ha, come altri hanno la salute, o la bellezza.

Per una sfida dovevo leggere un libro ambientato in Russia, possibilmente di un autore russo, e così per caso ho scovato questo libricino di Nina Berberova, autrice a me sconosciuta e che probabilmente sarebbe rimasta tale. Sonečka, la protagonista, racconta la sua storia in questa specie di diario, la sua condizione
Concepito come un quaderno di memorie ritrovato in un albergo parigino, il libro racconta i pensieri di Sonečka: la sua vita grigia a Pietroburgo con una madre che non ama perché non è riuscita a darle una famiglia normale ed una vita agiata, gli studi al conservatorio e la miseria sempre più soffocante, l‘incontro nel 1919 con il soprano Marija Nikolaevna Travina che cerca un’accompagnatrice al pianoforte che possa seguirla in tournée prima a Mosca per poi arrivare a Parigi. E le sue memorie ra ...more
Pardis Parto
Apr 01, 2008 Pardis Parto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
سونچكا از طريق مادرش كه معلم موسيقي است با خوانندهاي به نام ماريا نيكلايونا آشنا ميشود. سونچكا از آن پس در كنسرتهاي ماريا پيانو مينوازد. سپس به همراه ماريا از شوروي گريخته و به قسطنطنيه و از آنجا به پاريس ميرود. در اين شهر كه آن روزگار كانون هنرمندان جهان بوده، زندگي ماريا و سونچكا بهانهاي ميشود تا خواننده با زندگي مهاجران روسي گريخته از انقلاب آشنا شود. سرگذشت سونچكا، داستان زندگي آن دسته از آدمهايي است كه ناگهان، طغيان اجتماعي، زندگي آنها را برهم زده است. او كه ميتوانست هنرمندي بزرگ باشد، اكنو ...more
Jul 16, 2012 Betty rated it really liked it
Shelves: russia
Nina Berberova's name came up in a book column in the Wall Street Journal. Intrigued, I found two of her books in the library. Born in pre-revolutionary Russia, she left for Europe with her husband and fellow poet in 1922, finally settling in Paris where she lived as an impoverished stateless person. She made her way to the US in 1950 and eventually was hired by Yale and then Princeton to teach Russian and Russian literature. She died in 1993.

This novella takes place in post-revolutionary Russia
Oct 23, 2011 Methodtomadness rated it really liked it
The Accompanist is a slim little novella that seems far, far more modern than its 1936 publication date. It's not a cheerful novel, and it's not a happy novel, but it's a well-crafted and subtle novel. It's hard for a non-Russian speaker to know how much of the modernity is in the original prose, and how much has been conveyed through the translation, but it's a crisp, largely direct style that grabs you and hangs on with the same sort of neurotic intensity the narrator herself displays. The Ac ...more
Apr 09, 2016 Benino rated it it was amazing
Berberova's beautiful tale depicts the life of a Russian accompanist, who only ever manages to be a handmaiden to others. Written as a tale relating the contents of a discovered diary - the only artefact that remains of the as a woman and artist - telling how she never escaped obscurity, illegitimate in birth, to lonely death in exile.

Not driven by the desire of the protagonist, the tale's momentum is found in both the opportunity of given by another's fame and the resentment it arouses. Yet it'
Sep 12, 2010 Mitch rated it it was ok
Found this very short novel on clearance and thought the plot looked interesting so I decided to check it out.

Although elements of this book and some of the language and perspective is interesting, the overall flow and storyline sometimes was a little bland to me. I can understand why many people think it is a beautiful book with poetic lines and underlying themes...but as an enjoyable read I'd give it a thumbs down. Good thing it was as short as it was....

Basically the plot is about a plain Rus
Non ho capito bene l'intento dell'autrice perchè il significato di questo romanzetto resta per me un po' sospeso.
Le premesse sono classiche: una ragazza di umilissime origini non propriamente bella ma musicalmente dotata, diventa l'accompagnatrice col pianoforte di una bellissima e famosa cantante. Presto in lei si genererà un ambiguo sentimento di invidia e di ammirazione che non sarà in grado di gestire anche per via dei conflitti irrisolti con la madre e del suo risentimento verso il genere u
May 20, 2012 Amy rated it liked it
This novella is an interesting take on what is really a love story. It's told through the eyes of a young woman with very low self esteem. Because of this and the circumstances in which she was raised, she views the love affair in a negative light. I think mainly due to the fact that she is jealous of her employer's good living conditions in a world of poverty.
There is also great irony in that both the rich and the poor are equally unhappy in the world that they are living in.

The story keeps you
Mar 31, 2013 Sam rated it liked it
Shelves: classic, russia
At times poetic, at times drearily mundane, telling of the story of a young Russian girl who becomes an accompanist for a remarkable female vocalist. No matter how hard she tries, the accompanist never achieves her dream of emerging from the shadows; this was perhaps the most compelling part of the storyline. We see her in the background on stage, as well as in a cafe and in a square. Yet she never manages to be centre stage in any of the dramas, save being the narrator of the story. Deceptively ...more
Nick Duretta
Apr 14, 2012 Nick Duretta rated it liked it
This grim little novel (fewer than 100 pages) tells the tale of an enigmatic, forlorn young woman who is plucked from poverty in St. Petersburg to be an accompanist to an up-and-coming concert singer. The girl lives in the shadow of the star, often surrendering her own happiness and future for the older woman. Although she wishes her benefactor happiness, when it comes it means a return to a life of destitution for the protagonist. The lesson or moral of the story was sort of lost on me.
Dec 10, 2016 Paola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mi piace lo stile asciutto della Berberova, questo suo presentarci pezzi di cuore dei suoi personaggi in modo un po' brusco. Anche le rare descrizioni dei luoghi sono come dei flash, un ramo, una pozzanghera, un lampione che spezzano il buio e ci mostrano qualcosa. Un romanzo sull'amore e sull'invidia, su una vita che non è mai iniziata, sempre all'ombra di qualcuno di più grande.
Jun 16, 2010 Adam rated it really liked it
I'm not sure what all this novella adds up to, but given the concentrated social envy of the narrator's character there is likely some degree of allegory to be gleaned by anyone who knows more of Lenin's Russia than I do. That said, however, Berberova has a simply mesmerizing ear for elegant phrasing and depicts her characters' difficult emotional lives convincingly and with great tension.
May 13, 2014 Stefania rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una lettura inaspettatamente intensa e coinvolgente in una Russia povera dopo la rivoluzione, dove una pianista scialba e senza mezzi diventa l'accompagnatrice di una cantante che è il suo totale opposto: bella, brava, innamorata e piena di passione, che finisce per travolgere entrambe in un gioco di invidia e rabbia. Una piacevole scoperta.
Jan 03, 2014 Daniel rated it liked it
I skimmed the first six pages to see if I could remember more about this novella, and in doing so I decided that: a) this is well-written; b) I do remember liking it; and c) I should read this again, some day.
Nov 17, 2010 Yooperprof rated it really liked it
Shelves: russia, fiction
Poignant tale of a melancholy Russian woman pianist who lives in the shadow of the passionate diva who employs her. More a long short story than a novel, "The Accompanist" is set in chaotic Russia following the 1917 revolution, and in a gray and wintry interwar Paris.
Acuité et concision des descriptions psychologiques, des relations entre les personnages et des maux de la société. Vraiment une belle écriture, un roman qui se lit d'un trait. Même force et même plaisir que "Le bal" de Irène Némirovsky.
Sylvain Bérubé
Sep 12, 2011 Sylvain Bérubé rated it it was amazing
L'amertume de l'injustice.
Mar 27, 2016 Siluvana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookcrossing
Muy interesante la forma en que la autora logra retratar esa clásica conjunción de admiración y rencor. También interesante cómo se describe la vida en Rusia pre y post comunismo.
Jul 25, 2011 Annamarie rated it really liked it
This is a very fast read, with three characters that I found to be very unlikeable. Interesting, but I felt that there was a lot missing from the story.
Jun 19, 2011 Katja rated it it was ok
История серой мышки, которая себя такой и видит. Ничего особенного, но интересно деталями пре- и постреволюционной России и эмиграции.
Apr 15, 2013 Beth rated it really liked it
Subservience, resentment, jealousy and infidelity are central to this poignantly tragic Russian novella. The Accompanist is a realist tale with the spirit of Balzac.
Cooper Renner
Apr 04, 2012 Cooper Renner rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Novella about a classical singer and her accompanist, set in the years immediately after the Soviet revolution in Russia.
Dec 21, 2013 Terry rated it liked it
quick read---very interesting, compelling...
Un peu déçue par cette ombre de l'artiste...
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Nina Nikolayevna Berberova was a Russian writer who chronicled the lives of Russian exiles in Paris in her short stories and novels. She visited post-Soviet Russia and died in Philadelphia.

Born in 1901 to an Armenian father and a Russian mother, Nina Berberova was brought up in St Petersburg.[1] She left Russia in 1922 with poet Vladislav Khodasevich (who died in 1939). The couple lived in several
More about Nina Berberova...

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