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Monday, January 14, 2008

The Madonnas of Leningrad (Jan. '08)

The Madonnas of Leningrad, by Debra Dean – This arrived in the mail on Wed. Jan. 9. I was thrilled!!! I heard about this book from (I think) the library’s book review emails and thought it would be fascinating, so I added it to my wish list on PBS. I think the big draw for me was the Russian aspect of the book, but I’m not sure. Anyway I started reading it at 9pm; when I went to bed at 11:30, I was on page 180. I completed the rest of the book the next day during my lunch break, except for the additional info in the back which I read the following day. In the end I was a bit disappointed with it. I think she accomplished her purpose – to show what it’s like in the mind of a woman with Alzheimer’s. But I also think there was too little character development for my taste. I found out from the additional info that the author has only done short stories and poetry up ‘til now, so I think that accounts for the brevity of the novel and the lack of depth in the characters. I’ve already posted in back on PBS as there is a 14 person waiting list for it. I hope someone else will enjoy it more than I did.

Here are other reviews of this book, usually by people who liked it much more than I did:
Historical Tapestry
Life and Times of a "New" New Yorker
Book Chatter
Booking Mama


Ti said...

I know parts of the story seemed too brief at times, but I attributed that to her gaps in memory. Almost like ADD... begin one line of thought and then onto another..

Anonymous said...

Heather - I just finished the book this week, and really liked it, fluctuating between WW2 in the Hermitage and present day with Marina grasping to remember.

It made me curious about the actual events of that time, when the art was removed from the museum for safe-keeping.

I've had a similar reponse to a book *everyone else* (not I) loved (*Three Cups of Tea*) ... I posted my honest opinion ... It's great that we all can agree to disagree sometimes, or have a healthy/gentle debate about it (no barbs or spears!)

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