September 2010 Indie Next List
“This narrative pas de deux binds Nina Revskaya's mysterious past as the Bolshoi Ballet's rising young star with her reclusive present as an anonymous benefactor of the Boston arts scene. When a rash, youthful decision based on jealousy and insecurity sets events spinning out of her control, Nina spends the rest of her life guarding a dark secret. With this sweeping story of art, love, and Soviet politics come hints of intrigue and betrayal, and even those with the most dazzling talent cannot protect themselves against damaging accusations.”
— Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
A mysterious jewel holds the key to a life-changing secret, in this breathtaking tale of love and art, betrayal and redemption.
When she decides to auction her remarkable jewelry collection, Nina Revskaya, once a great star of the Bolshoi Ballet, believes she has finally drawn a curtain on her past. Instead, the former ballerina finds herself overwhelmed by memories of her homeland and of the events, both glorious and heartbreaking, that changed the course of her life half a century ago.
It was in Russia that she discovered the magic of the theater; that she fell in love with the poet Viktor Elsin; that she and her dearest companionsGersh, a brilliant composer, and the exquisite Vera, Ninas closest friendbecame victims of Stalinist aggression. And it was in Russia that a terrible discovery incited a deadly act of betrayaland an ingenious escape that led Nina to the West and eventually to Boston.
Nina has kept her secrets for half a lifetime. But two people will not let the past rest: Drew Brooks, an inquisitive young associate at a Boston auction house, and Grigori Solodin, a professor of Russian who believes that a unique set of jewels may hold the key to his own ambiguous past. Together these unlikely partners begin to unravel a mystery surrounding a love letter, a poem, and a necklace of unknown provenance, setting in motion a series of revelations that will have life-altering consequences for them all.
Interweaving past and present, Moscow and New England, the backstage tumult of the dance world and the transformative power of art, Daphne Kalotays luminous first novela literary page-turner of the highest ordercaptures the uncertainty and terror of individuals powerless to withstand the forces of history, while affirming that even in times of great strife, the human spirit reaches for beauty and grace, forgiveness and transcendence.
About the Author
DAPHNE KALOTAY, a citizen of both Canada and the U.S., grew up in New Jersey and attended Vassar College before receiving her M.F.A. and Ph.D. from Boston University. Her fiction collection, Calamity and Other Stories, was shortlisted for the Story Prize, while her debut novel, Russian Winter, won the Writers League of Texas Fiction Award and was longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. An international bestseller, Russian Winter has been published in twenty-one foreign languages. Kalotay lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.