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The Madonnas of Leningrad: A Novel (P.S.) by…
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The Madonnas of Leningrad: A Novel (P.S.) (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Debra Dean

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Title:The Madonnas of Leningrad: A Novel (P.S.)
Authors:Debra Dean
Info:Harper Perennial (2007), Paperback, 256 pages
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The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean (2006)

Recently added bykarand, hailsus, private library, LoisB, beverytender, FAR2MANYBOOKS, scampbell825, DTChantel
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  1. 20
    The Siege by Helen Dunmore (Imprinted)
  2. 20
    People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (mrstreme)
    mrstreme: Similar history of how museum workers scrambled to save pieces of art during wartime
  3. 00
    Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah (kthomp25)
    kthomp25: A fictional account of a woman who lives through the Siege of Leningrad and is separated from family only to find them many years and another lifetime later.
  4. 00
    Through the Burning Steppe: A Wartime Memoir by Elena Kozhina (Imprinted)
    Imprinted: Author Elena Kozhina survived the Siege of Leningrad and grew up to become a curator at the Hermitage Museum.
  5. 00
    Ordeal of the Hermitage: The Siege of Leningrad 1941-1944 by Sergei Varshavsky (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Author resource
  6. 00
    The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad by Harrison E. Salisbury (Imprinted)
  7. 00
    Moving Pictures by Kathryn Immonen (cransell)
  8. 00
    Tinkers by Paul Harding (Limelite)
    Limelite: Another beautiful and deeply satisfying novel about love, memory, and family delivered to the reader through the mind of a dying man. Instead of paintings, his "memory palace" is filled with clocks.
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» See also 160 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
In Leningrad as a young woman, memories kept Marina alive during the siege and now a memory-eating disease is taking her away. The author paints vivid pictures of the cold, the fright, the hunger of WWII Russia and the cold and frightening illness that is taking her mind now.

This book appealed to me personally, on so many levels.
-My parents born in Ukraine(at that time Russia)and survived the WWII seige of the nazis.
-Art-which I love, (and I also visited the Hermitage museum website, as some other reviewer's here did.) The author’s descriptions were magnificent.
-Alzheimer's-I've been caring for my mom who has it. The author gives such an amazing impression of what the inner life of an Alzheimer's patient might be.

My favorite passage, “The slow erosion of self has its compensations. Having forgotten whatever associations might dull her vision, she can look at a leaf and see it for the first time. Though reason suggests it otherwise, she has never seen this green before. It is wondrous. Each day the world is made fresh again, holy and she takes it in, in all its intensity, like a young child.”

One can only hope.










( )
  FAR2MANYBOOKS | Apr 5, 2014 |
In Leningrad as a young woman, memories kept Marina alive during the siege and now a memory-eating disease is taking her away. The author paints vivid pictures of the cold, the fright, the hunger of WWII Russia and the cold and frightening illness that is taking her mind now.

This book appealed to me personally, on so many levels.
-My parents born in Ukraine(at that time Russia)and survived the WWII seige of the nazis.
-Art-which I love, (and I also visited the Hermitage museum website, as some other reviewer's here did.) The author’s descriptions were magnificent.
-Alzheimer's-I've been caring for my mom who has it. The author gives such an amazing impression of what the inner life of an Alzheimer's patient might be.

My favorite passage, “The slow erosion of self has its compensations. Having forgotten whatever associations might dull her vision, she can look at a leaf and see it for the first time. Though reason suggests it otherwise, she has never seen this green before. It is wondrous. Each day the world is made fresh again, holy and she takes it in, in all its intensity, like a young child.”

One can only hope.










( )
  FAR2MANYBOOKS | Apr 5, 2014 |
This book is a disorganized mess. It is a bunch of vignettes based on 2 themes searching for a plot.

Some of the writing is beautiful regarding the art, and the environment, but the characters are paper thin. There are vignettes from the past about the main character's activities during WWII as a docent at the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad/St. Petersburg in Russia. Then there are vignettes set in a modern time with the character as an old woman with Alzheimers. The modern parts are rather bland and boring, in fact the whole book is bland and boring. The 2 parts never really connect up, nothing is explained or fleshed out. ( )
  FicusFan | Mar 29, 2014 |
As one can read from the summaries, this book is about a young woman's experiences during the Siege of Leningrad during WWII and her later descent into Alzheimer's. I found both stories to be compelling, but especially think the author did a good job of portraying Marina's confusion due to Alzheimers and the reaction of those around her at her granddaughter's wedding. It provided a great insight into the fact that we can never understand the past experiences of others especially our parents.

I do believe this is a very well written novel; however, at times, I must admit that it didn't grip me as it should. I don't have a strong art background and quite frankly found some of the descriptions of the paintings tedious (I know those of you who are art lovers are going to disagree with that statement). This is a great novel for the lovers of historical fiction AND art.

I would highly recommend The Siege: A Novel by Helen Dunmore which is also about the Siege of Leningrad. ( )
  maryreinert | Aug 23, 2013 |
There are many things to like about this book: the insights it gives into the siege of Leningrad in 1941 and how it affected the population as their food stores were bombed by the Luftwaffe; its gentle treatment of Marina's oncoming Alzheimer's as her mind constantly interchanges the present with the past; the irony that a woman who had such a good memory decades before, who could mentally recreate the long galleries of the Hermitage museum where she worked, can now not identify her own daughter; the way Marina and her husband have never told their children of their war time experiences; and much more.

Even though it covers so much territory, this is not a long book. There is a startling clarity as Marina remembers the various Madonnas that hung on the walls of the museum, describing them in detail. ( )
  smik | Aug 19, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
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.
added by kthomp25 | editBooklist, Allison Block
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Debra Deanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Middelthon, Elisabet W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwaab, JudithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060825316, Paperback)

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. . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:13 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In a novel that moves back and forth between the Soviet Union during World War II and modern-day America, Marina, an elderly Russian woman, recalls vivid images of her youth during the height of the siege of Leningrad.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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