Debra Dean The Madonnas of Leningrad

ISBN 13: 9780007215065

The Madonnas of Leningrad

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9780007215065: The Madonnas of Leningrad

One of the most talked about books of the year . . . Bit by bit, the ravages of age are eroding Marina's grip on the everyday. And while the elderly Russian woman cannot hold on to fresh memories—the details of her grown children's lives, the approaching wedding of her grandchild—her distant past is preserved: vivid images that rise unbidden of her youth in war-torn Leningrad.

In the fall of 1941, the German army approached the outskirts of Leningrad, signaling the beginning of what would become a long and torturous siege. During the ensuing months, the city's inhabitants would brave starvation and the bitter cold, all while fending off the constant German onslaught. Marina, then a tour guide at the Hermitage Museum, along with other staff members, was instructed to take down the museum's priceless masterpieces for safekeeping, yet leave the frames hanging empty on the walls—a symbol of the artworks' eventual return. To hold on to sanity when the Luftwaffe's bombs began to fall, she burned to memory, brushstroke by brushstroke, these exquisite artworks: the nude figures of women, the angels, the serene Madonnas that had so shortly before gazed down upon her. She used them to furnish a "memory palace," a personal Hermitage in her mind to which she retreated to escape terror, hunger, and encroaching death. A refuge that would stay buried deep within her, until she needed it once more. . . .

Seamlessly moving back and forth in time between the Soviet Union and contemporary America, The Madonnas of Leningrad is a searing portrait of war and remembrance, of the power of love, memory, and art to offer beauty, grace, and hope in the face of overwhelming despair. Gripping, touching, and heartbreaking, it marks the debut of Debra Dean, a bold new voice in American fiction.

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About the Author:

Debra Dean worked as an actor in New York theater for nearly a decade before opting for the life of a writer and teacher. She and her husband now live in Miami, where she teaches at the University at Miami. She is at work on her second novel.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* Her granddaughter's wedding should be a time of happiness for Marina Buriakov. But the Russian emigre's descent into Alzheimer's has her and her family experiencing more anxiety than joy. As the details of her present-day life slip mysteriously away, Marina's recollections of her early years as a docent at the State Hermitage Museum become increasingly vivid. When Leningrad came under siege at the beginning of World War II, museum workers--whose families were provided shelter in the building's basement--stowed away countless treasures, leaving the painting's frames in place as a hopeful symbol of their ultimate return. Amid the chaos, Marina found solace in the creation of a "memory palace," in which she envisioned the brushstroke of every painting and each statue's line and curve. Gracefully shifting between the Soviet Union and the contemporary Pacific Northwest, first-time novelist Dean renders a poignant tale about the power of memory. Dean eloquently describes the works of Rembrandt, Rubens, and Raphael, but she is at her best illuminating aging Marina's precarious state of mind: "It is like disappearing for a few moments at a time, like a switch being turned off," she writes. "A short while later, the switch mysteriously flips again." Allison Block
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Debra Dean
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom (2007)
ISBN 10: 0007215061 ISBN 13: 9780007215065
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 194 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A brilliant and moving debut novel about one woman s struggle to preserve an artistic heritage from the horrors and destruction of World War II, and the ensuing lifelong memories from this extraordinary experience. In this extraordinary first novel by Debra Dean, the siege of Leningrad by German troops in World War II is echoed by the destructive siege against the mind and memory of an elderly Russian woman. Marina, the woman in question, was a guide at Leningrad s famous Hermitage Museum. In the late autumn of 1941, as the Luftwaffe roared over and around Leningrad, she and her colleagues were set the task of taking the thousands of priceless paintings, sculptures and objets d art out of the grand galleries of the former Tsarist Palace and storing them safely against the German bombardment and seemingly inevitable invasion. The German assault threatened to destroy a large part of Europe s artistic history: if Leningrad fell to the Germans, everything that was not destroyed would be looted and given to the Nazis. Marina, whose own parents had disappeared during Stalin s persecution of intellectuals in the 1930s, clings to her hope of becoming an art historian through her job at the Hermitage. The novel shifts between Marina s experiences at the Hermitage during the siege of Leningrad and her current existence as a very old lady in America whose mind has begun to fray. Debra Dean depicts, with subtle skill, how Marina s mind, already ravaged by disease, picks up some incident, object or person at the wedding she s been brought to, and flips back to the dreadful year-and-a-half in Leningrad which has informed her life ever since. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007215065

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Debra Dean
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ISBN 10: 0007215061 ISBN 13: 9780007215065
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 194 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A brilliant and moving debut novel about one woman s struggle to preserve an artistic heritage from the horrors and destruction of World War II, and the ensuing lifelong memories from this extraordinary experience. In this extraordinary first novel by Debra Dean, the siege of Leningrad by German troops in World War II is echoed by the destructive siege against the mind and memory of an elderly Russian woman. Marina, the woman in question, was a guide at Leningrad s famous Hermitage Museum. In the late autumn of 1941, as the Luftwaffe roared over and around Leningrad, she and her colleagues were set the task of taking the thousands of priceless paintings, sculptures and objets d art out of the grand galleries of the former Tsarist Palace and storing them safely against the German bombardment and seemingly inevitable invasion. The German assault threatened to destroy a large part of Europe s artistic history: if Leningrad fell to the Germans, everything that was not destroyed would be looted and given to the Nazis. Marina, whose own parents had disappeared during Stalin s persecution of intellectuals in the 1930s, clings to her hope of becoming an art historian through her job at the Hermitage. The novel shifts between Marina s experiences at the Hermitage during the siege of Leningrad and her current existence as a very old lady in America whose mind has begun to fray. Debra Dean depicts, with subtle skill, how Marina s mind, already ravaged by disease, picks up some incident, object or person at the wedding she s been brought to, and flips back to the dreadful year-and-a-half in Leningrad which has informed her life ever since. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007215065

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Book Description Harper Perennial 2007-06-04, 2007. Book Condition: New. Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is 24-48 hours from our warehouse. Book will be sent in robust, secure packaging to ensure it reaches you securely. Bookseller Inventory # NU-GRD-00614177

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, The Madonnas of Leningrad, Debra Dean, A brilliant and moving debut novel about one woman's struggle to preserve an artistic heritage from the horrors and destruction of World War II, and the ensuing lifelong memories from this extraordinary experience. In this extraordinary first novel by Debra Dean, the siege of Leningrad by German troops in World War II is echoed by the destructive siege against the mind and memory of an elderly Russian woman. Marina, the woman in question, was a guide at Leningrad's famous Hermitage Museum. In the late autumn of 1941, as the Luftwaffe roared over and around Leningrad, she and her colleagues were set the task of taking the thousands of priceless paintings, sculptures and objets d'art out of the grand galleries of the former Tsarist Palace and storing them safely against the German bombardment and seemingly inevitable invasion. The German assault threatened to destroy a large part of Europe's artistic history: if Leningrad fell to the Germans, everything that was not destroyed would be looted and given to the Nazis. Marina, whose own parents had disappeared during Stalin's persecution of intellectuals in the 1930s, clings to her hope of becoming an art historian through her job at the Hermitage. The novel shifts between Marina's experiences at the Hermitage during the siege of Leningrad and her current existence as a very old lady in America whose mind has begun to fray. Debra Dean depicts, with subtle skill, how Marina's mind, already ravaged by disease, picks up some incident, object or person at the wedding she's been brought to, and flips back to the dreadful year-and-a-half in Leningrad which has informed her life ever since. Bookseller Inventory # B9780007215065

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers. Book Condition: New. 2007. Paperback. A brilliant and moving debut novel about one woman's struggle to preserve an artistic heritage from the horrors and destruction of World War II, and the ensuing lifelong memories from this extraordinary experience. Num Pages: 288 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 196 x 130 x 17. Weight in Grams: 204. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780007215065

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 2007. Book Condition: New. 2007. Paperback. A brilliant and moving debut novel about one woman's struggle to preserve an artistic heritage from the horrors and destruction of World War II, and the ensuing lifelong memories from this extraordinary experience. Num Pages: 288 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 196 x 130 x 17. Weight in Grams: 204. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780007215065

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