Sunday, December 21, 2008
The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean
Marina is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. She remembers her days as a tour guide for The Hermitage Museum in 1941 Leningrad more clearly than she remembers details of her grown children's lives. As the German Army approached, the Hermitage employees boxed up and hid for safekeeping all of the artwork - 1.1 million objects. During the first winter of the siege of Leningrad, the museum staff and their families lived in the basement of the museum - almost 2000 people. This is told as Marina's memories, which she confuses with the present: her granddaughter's wedding. It is a sad story but beautifully told. I found out about this book through my local book club - they read this book last spring before I joined. I rate it 4 out of 5.