Bit by bit, the ravages of age are eroding Marina's grip on the everyday. An elderly Russian woman now living in America, she cannot hold on to fresh memories—the details of her grown children's lives, the approaching wedding of her grandchild—yet her distant past is miraculously preserved in her mind's eye.
Vivid images of her youth in war-torn Leningrad arise unbidden, carrying her back to the terrible fall of 1941, when she was a tour guide at the Hermitage Museum and the German army's approach signaled the beginning of what would be a long, torturous siege on the city. As the people braved starvation, bitter cold, and a relentless German onslaught, Marina joined other staff members in removing the museum's priceless masterpieces for safekeeping, leaving the frames hanging empty on the walls to symbolize the artworks' eventual return. As the Luftwaffe's bombs pounded the proud, stricken city, Marina built a personal Hermitage in her mind—a refuge that would stay buried deep within her, until she needed it once more. . . .
About the Author
Debra Dean's bestselling debut novel, The Madonnas of Leningrad was a New York Times Editors' Choice, a #1 Booksense Pick, a Booklist Top Ten Novel, and an American Library Association Notable Book of the Year. It has been published in twenty languages. Her collection of short stories, Confessions of a Falling Woman, won the Paterson Fiction Prize and a Florida Book Award. A native of Seattle, she and her husband, poet Clifford Paul Fetters, now live in Miami where she teaches at Florida International University.
Praise for The Madonnas of Leningrad…
“Dean writes with passion and compelling drama about a grotesque chapter of World War II.” -People
“[A] poetic novel.” -San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
“[A] heartfelt debut.” -New York Times Book Review
“Elegant and poetic, the rare kind of book that you want to keep but you have to share.” -Isabel Allende, New York Times bestselling author of ZORRO
“Spare, elegant language [and] taut emotion...secure for this debut work a spot on library shelves everywhere.” -Library Journal
“Exquisitely crafted and deeply satisfying.” -Oakland Tribune
“[A] remarkable first novel about the consolation of memory.” -NPR Nancy Pearl Book Review
The most-recommended book of 2006 -Salt Lake City Tribune
“…this is a novel that dares to be beautiful - and fully succeeds.” -Daily Mail (London)