Thursday, September 16, 2010

Daphne Kalotay Russian Winters


I have to say I was surprised by this one. I normally don’t read this type of novel, but I am glad I didn’t judge a novel by its cover. The woman on the cover either has her head or a necklace on backwards, it confused me a bit. Russian Winter is the debut novel of Daphne Kalotay. She attended Brown U’s creative writing program, where her stories won the school’s Florence Engel Randall Fiction Prize and a Transatlantic Review Award from the Henfield Foundation. I have not heard of either of them, but the names seem impressive. I tried to find out if Florence Engel Randal is related to the comedian Bill Engel but have not received an answer as of the posting. More on this to come at a future date.
The novel itself was interesting. Lately I have been trying out different things, and this I thought was going to be a challenge to get through. I was wrong for a few reasons. Kalotay’s pacing and attention to detail caught me from the beginning; I really enjoyed it. She has the ability to write and it really comes through. There was a lot of emotion and a surprising amount of intrigue and action to be found. To help you understand what you may be getting into if you chose to crack this novel open:” transports the reader from present –day Boston to post-WWll Russia. There live a group of Bohemian artists and writers whose complex, dangerous lives are under the constant threat of purges or punishment. Subterfuge, double lives, the magical world of dance, stolen jewels- all come together in a brilliantly plotted story that switches between time periods. Both intensely romantic but historically fascinating and scrupulous…”
Yeah, I would say that is a mouth full, who would have thought. Personally I was amazed she kept me going through the whole thing. I am neither a fan of Boston (I am a big Yankees fan, so my other favorite team besides the Yankees is whoever is playing the Red Sox) or Russia, but Daphne Kalotay’s style and ability won me over and helped put aside my differences and enjoy the novel. Now if they could only recall all the novels and fix the ladies head or the necklace…..
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