BY DAPHNE KALOTAY
Set in both modern-day Boston and post-WWII Moscow, RUSSIAN WINTER tells the story of Bolshoi ballerina Nina Revskaya as she becomes a member of Stalin's cultural elite before escaping to the West following a terrible betrayal. Decades later, she has decided to auction off her famed jewelry collection—including the rare set of amber that a Boston professor, Grigori Solodin, translator of the works of Revskaya's late poet-husband, believes may hold the key to a long-kept secret. The literary mystery Grigori sets out to solve—with the help of Drew Brooks, a young associate at the Boston auction house—reaches much deeper: to the cost of making art and trying to live and love under circumstances of enormous repression.
A finalist in the James Jones First Novel competition, Russian Winter will be in bookstores September 7, 2010.AUTHOR INTERVIEW:
1. Where did you get the inspiration for this book, and how did its title come about?
Ten years ago, I was reminiscing about the winter I fell in love with a fellow grad student here at a university in Boston, during the months that I was studying for a qualifying exam in Russian literature. The title of the story came to me right away, since in terms of drama and tragic romance—as well as my literary studies—that time really was my “Russian Winter.” As often happens to writers, the original seed of that story grew into a much different one, which eventually let to the writing of this novel.
2. Do you see yourself in your characters?
I see myself in all of my characters, even if just a tiny bit.
3. What books would you say have made the biggest impression on you, especially starting out?
Chekhov’s stories were a huge influence on me, the way that they zero in on seemingly small moments or emotions or details. For a long time I read any translations I could find of his work, as I was trying to write my own stories and learning from him what might be necessary to create a satisfying but realistic narrative.
4. What are you currently reading?
I have some novellas that Melville House Classics has put out. One is by F. Scott Fitzgerald, another by Henry James, but the one I’m currently reading is Tales of Belkin by Alexander Pushkin.
5. What is something about you that you would want people to know about you that we probably don’t know?
Though I’m half Hungarian and half Canadian, I sort of grew up a “Jersey girl.”
6. What is your best advice to anyone, including young people, who want to be writers?
Keep your eyes and ears open, at all times. If you’re going around plugged into your iPod, or playing games on your smartphone, instead of patiently looking around and taking note at the world around you, how do you expect to have interesting observations about the world? Even when you’re in a seemingly boring situation—waiting in line, say—make a point of paying attention, wondering about the people you see and the comments you overhear. Think of it as crucial nutrition for your imagination.
THANKS TO MARK AND MY FRIENDS
AT HARPER COLLINS PUBLISHING,
I HAVE 3 COPIES OF THIS EXCITING
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