Deanna's Reviews > The Madonnas of Leningrad

The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean
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's review
Mar 30, 2012

really liked it

Beautiful. I thought I would add my favorite page:
"Green." The word doesn't begin to describe this.
For the moment, she forgets that she is lost, that she is weak and chilled and the soles of her feet are tender with sores. She pinches a leaf between her thumb and forefinger and holds it up. It is breathtakingly beautiful, the first green of the world, the light of creation still shining inside it. She studies it. Time recedes, and she floats beyond it, absorbed totally and completely in this vision. Who knows how much time has passed? She is beyond the tyranny of time. Dmitri once left her sitting in a chair by the window and returned later to find her still entranced by the dance of dust motes caught in a shaft of late-afternoon sun. He claimed to have done three loads of wash in what felt to her like an instant.
This slow erosion of self has its compensations. Having forgotten whatever associations might dull her vision, she can look at a leaf and see it as if for the first time. Though reason suggests otherwise, she has never seen this green before. It is wondrous. Each day, the world is made fresh again, holy, and she takes it in, in all its raw intensity, like a young child. She feels something bloom in her chest--joy or grief, eventually they are inseparable. The world is so acutely beautiful, for all its horrors, that she will be sorry to leave it."
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