I still get kind of excited when I pick up a book that I’ve never heard of by a totally unknown author, and it turns out to be really, really good. Not just “yeah, I can read this one, but I’ll hurry up because I want to get on to the next one of that ever teetering stack of books over there” good, but “I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next” good.
That was the case with Russian Winter, a novel I plucked off the New Releases shelf during my last visit to the library. This is the first novel for author Daphne Kalotay, although she has published a collection of short stories called Calamity and Other Stories (which is now on reserve for me at said library).
Anyway, Russian Winter is another tale that alternates between past and present, the past being Soviet Russian under Stalin, immediately post WWII, the present, Boston in the early 21st century. It’s the story of Nita Revskya, a great Russian ballerina, now aged and crippled in a Boston apartment, and the myriad of secrets she harbors about her life and loves.
It’s also about the ways people are connected through history, sometimes very unexpectedly, and how we should be mindful of those connections as we pass through life. It’s also a good reminder about the importance of each person’s story, and how every individual plays a very unique and special part in the annals of history.
The book is extremely well written and researched, enhanced by many very authentic balletic, historical, and gemological details.