…it is a movement in ballet. After viewing Black Swan, I felt compelled to madly rummage through musty cardboard boxes in storage until, to my great relief, they finally relinquished my old ballet Pointe shoes. These days I seem to be consumed with all things “ballet”, dreaming of wearing flats and luscious, floaty chiffon skirts and dresses all in shades of nude and blush pink. Naturally, all this occurs as I sit and look out onto a dreary, cold, snow covered landscape. So it was with great pleasure that I welcomed relief in the form of a book serendipitously recommended to me entitled, Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay. I should warn you, this book will have you burning the lamp at all wee hours of the morning so best not to begin if you have important errands to attend to the next day.
Set in Moscow, this book weaves together the lives of Russian ballerinas, poets, and musicians living an existence of fear under the threat of Stalin and totalitarianism. Mystery, intrigue, love affairs, and sheer beauty run throughout in a tale that evokes the will of mankind to rise above oppression and for art and free expression to triumph. The author develops the main character, Bolshoi ballerina Nina Revskaya, but also fleshes out her other characters in detail, leaving the reader with a deeper understanding and compassion for each one. With trepidation I anticipated a disappointing and predictable ending but was delightfully surprised. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!