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Extended Audio Sample Russian Winter: A Novel, by Daphne Kalotay Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,954 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Daphne Kalotay Narrator: Kathleen Gati Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A mysterious jewel holds the key to a life-changing secret in this breathtaking tale of love and art, betrayal and redemption.

When she decides to auction her remarkable jewelry collection, Nina Revskaya, once a great star of the Bolshoi Ballet, believes she has finally drawn a curtain on her past. Instead, the former ballerina finds herself overwhelmed by memories of her homeland and of the events, both glorious and heartbreaking, that changed the course of her life half a century ago.

It was in Russia that she discovered the magic of the theater; that she fell in love with the poet Viktor Elsin; that she and her dearest companions—Gersh, a brilliant composer, and the exquisite Vera, Nina’s closest friend—became victims of Stalinist aggression. And it was in Russia that a terrible discovery incited a deadly act of betrayal—and an ingenious escape that led Nina to the West and eventually to Boston.

Nina has kept her secrets for half a lifetime, but two people will not let the past rest: Drew Brooks, an inquisitive young associate at a Boston auction house, and Grigori Solodin, a professor of Russian who believes that a unique set of jewels may hold the key to his own ambiguous past. Together these unlikely partners begin to unravel a mystery surrounding a love letter, a poem, and a necklace of unknown provenance, setting in motion a series of revelations that will have life-altering consequences for them all.

Interweaving past and present, Moscow and New England, the backstage tumult of the dance world and the transformative power of art, Daphne Kalotay’s luminous first novel—a literary page-turner of the highest order—captures the uncertainty and terror of individuals powerless to withstand the forces of history, while affirming that even in times of great strife, the human spirit reaches for beauty and grace, forgiveness and transcendence.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A satisfying mystery with a finely drawn plot…The secrets at the heart of the novel are treated as delicately, and guarded as carefully, as the precious stones at the story’s centre, and only revealed at the novel’s satisfying end.”

    Times Literary Supplement (London)

  • “An auspicious first novel, elegantly written and without a false note.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Each character has a petrified secret. The interlocking plots—the present alternates with Revskaya’s youth—build to harrowing betrayals, showing how Soviet Russia was ‘rearranged to discourage love for anything other than one’s country.’”

    New Yorker

  • “[A] magnificent tale of love, loss, betrayal and redemption…The emotional center of the book holds everything together…[A] final riptide of revelations leaves the reader profoundly moved.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “With sure and suspenseful artistry, Daphne Kalotay intersperses the unfortunate and tortuous histories of Nina, Elsin, and their artist friends with new discoveries and disclosures. The several stories draw together in a conclusion that is surprising, fitting, and satisfying.”

    Boston Globe

  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Longlisted for the 2012 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
  • Selected for the September 2010 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Patsy | 1/29/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book, although the ending seemed rather abrupt. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Deborah | 1/25/2014

    " Beautifully written. I could not put the book down as I had to know the outcome of each of the characters involved. Anyone that has an interest in historical fiction, dance or history will find this captivating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jennifer Piercey | 1/24/2014

    " I really liked this book, though it slowed down in the middle. Kalotay makes life in post-WW II Moscow and the grueling life of a ballet dancer come to life. But what a bleak and insecure life it was. Nina the prima ballerina managed to defect to the West but never managed to find much happiness there. She left behind much sadness, tragedy, heartbreak and misunderstanding. As a Boston auction house prepares an auction of Nina's impressive collection of jewelry, Nina's past comes into focus. It takes a small group of people in Boston to gradually work out the details of Nina's life in the USSR and help Nina put her past to rest. As the auction curator, Drew's life changes. Russian scholar Grigori Solodin is changed as well and he can begin to move beyond his past too. The jumps between modern-day Boston and the Stalin era in Moscow were sometimes too abrupt, but worked overall. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Ruth | 1/22/2014

    " The best fiction novel I have read in ages! I did not want it to end. A cross between Dr. Zhivago and Girl With a Pearl Earring. Fascinating story, rich characters, beautiful writing style. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for an enjoyable satisfying read. Time frame alternates between present day Boston and the Stalin era in the Soviet Union. Historically informing without being tedious. This book will be on my list of books to give this Christmas! "

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About the Author
Author Daphne Kalotay

Born and raised in New Jersey, Daphne Kalotay is a graduate of Vassar College and of Boston University, where she received an MA in creative writing and a Ph.D. in literature. Her short stories have appeared in various literary journals and magazines, and she has taught literature and writing at Middlebury College and Boston University. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.