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The True Memoirs of Little K

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  842 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews
Exiled in Paris, tiny, one-hundred-year-old Mathilde Kschessinska sits down to write her memoirs before all that she believes to be true is forgotten. A lifetime ago, she was the vain, ambitious, impossibly charming prima ballerina assoluta of the tsar’s Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg. Now, as she looks back on her tumultuous life, she can still recall every sli ...more
Hardcover, 378 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2010)
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Rebecca Huston
A novel about Mathilde Kschessinskaya, the mistress of Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia. While there are some good things in here, and plenty of description and emotional writing, this turned into a wallbanger very quickly. YMMV.

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Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have just finished reading Adrienne Sharp's The True Memoirs of Little K, about Mathilde Kschessinska. It sounds like a biography but it is indeed a novel. Mathilde was the mistress of the future Nicholas II beginning when she was 17 and newly graduated from St Petersburg Imperial Ballet School, for 3 years ending when married Alexandria, but their friendship lasted a life time. The facts seem to bear this out. She was made prima ballerina assoluta in 1896, and she acquired a great deal of val ...more
Jaime Boler
Oct 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Mathilde Kschessinska (1872-1971) comes to life in Adrienne Sharp's The True Memoirs of Little K in the same way she lit up the stage as a ballet dancer. Kschessinska rose up in the ranks of the Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg to become prima ballerina assoluta with a little help from her powerful paramour, Tsar Nicholas II. Sharp successfully recreates the splendor, extravagance, and excess of a dynasty whose days were numbered, though no one knew it. In fact, Sharp's storytelling ski ...more
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical
The strength of this book is in it's character study and the rich detailed world-building created. And Mathilde Kschessinka is a strong character (and who doesn't like political manoeuvring and manipulations?) but she is stacked against qualities I disliked. It reads best as a character study than anything more.

I am biased against this novel in that I prefer tight, crisp language, where this book has chosen to focus on an overabundance of detail that wavers between adding to the atmosphere and
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nel cuore di una italica primavera che ha la stessa luminosità di un inverno siberiano, mi sono immersa in una vera fiaba, sia nella vicenda che nell'ambientazione. E il bello è che sono tutte e due in gran parte vere. In questo libro c'è un buon lavoro di ricerca storica, per quanto meramente finalizzato a rendere plausibile una favola - la più classica di tutte, quella che vede per protagonisti una ballerina e l'imperatore. La storia racconta della ballerina Mathilde Kschessinka che in giovent ...more
Jennifer Long
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
If you love richly detailed historical fiction, read this, and then read City of Shadows by Arianna Franklin. This one is set in Russia during the reign of Czar Nicholas and the Bolshevik revolution, written as a memoir of the Czar's mistress, a famous Russian ballerina. City of Shadows picks up with the execution of the Czar's family and is set in pre-WWII Germany, the inflation and food shortages that led to anti-Jewish sentiment and the rise of Hitler. It's a mystery-thriller with a love inte ...more
Jul 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Daisy by: from Janet Fitch's shelf
Nauseating excess and greed. A ballerina who only knows one way to take care of herself and that is to be kept by royalty. Well, and lying.
You don't have to like her to like the book. An entertaining, engrossing read.
3+ stars

I have always admired an opportunist, being one myself.--that pretty much sums up Little K.

Diane S ☔
Dec 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Littlr K was a ballerina and also mistress to the tsarevich Nicholas. This is a novel about ballet, but also Russian history and the tumultous years leading up to the Russian Revolution.
Aug 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Terry Mckone
Oct 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I didn't have enough background knowledge to know what was real and what was fiction while reading this book. Once I read it just as fiction I enjoyed it more. I wonder how things would have been different with the Romanovs if they had been more in touch with the people of their country. In the story Mathilda Kschessinska comes across as vain, ambitious, and self absorbed. She as well as many other people in the book suffered from a sense of entitlement.
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Adrienne Sharp entered the world of ballet at age seven and trained at the prestigious Harkness Ballet in New York. She received her M.A. with honors from the Writing Seminars at the Johns Hopkins University and was awarded a Henry Hoyns Fellowship at the University of Virginia. She has been a fiction fellow at MacDowell, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Squaw Valley Writer’s Con ...more
More about Adrienne Sharp...
“So whatever you think of me, don't pity me. I had a beautiful life. I was loved, admired, feted, copied, mocked, treasured, and feared. I am one hundred years old and I am no longer afraid of anything.” 4 likes
“There is no greater pleasure than winning a competition with one's sister and no greater sorrow than to see her suffer because of it.” 3 likes
More quotes…