Russian Winter, By Daphne Kalotay


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The Independent Culture

Nina Revskaya, a former star at the Bolshoi ballet, is now in her nineties and living alone in Boston. When she decides to auction her jewellery collection for charity, the complications of her Cold War past catch up with her.

Stories within stories start to emerge, as if from a nest of stacking dolls. There's a Russian professor anxious to uncover the secret history of an amber necklace in his possesion since birth; and Drew Brooks, a director at the auction house, becomes intrigued by the events surrounding the ballerina's defection.

Inspired by contemporary memoirs, this highly readable saga by the short story writer, Kalotay, does a convincing job of conjuring up life in Soviet cultural circles just after the war. An elegant stocking-filler for serious balletomanes.