Mary Etta's Reviews > The Madonnas of Leningrad

The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean
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's review
May 20, 11

bookshelves: book-group
Recommended to Mary Etta by: SLTribune list of recommended 2006 books
Read in August, 2008

August book group.

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 comfort in comparison to the characters.

As the Hermitage workers remove all the art from the walls for hidden storage, for they don't know how long, Marina learns to commit to memory every detail of most of the paintings so they will know where to re-install them. She then finds an unique value in her recollections that bring some relief to the soldiers who arrive at the museum.

A really nice ending. An example of what can be noted if one really looks.
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