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The Madonnas of Leningrad: A Novel (P.S.)
by Debra Dean

Published: 2009-10-13
Kindle Edition : 256 pages
9 members reading this now
49 clubs reading this now
11 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 6 of 7 members

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 ...

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Introduction

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. . . .

Includes an excerpt from Debra Deans The Mirrored World.

Editorial Review

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Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

What role does "memory" play in the book? How do different characters preserve their memories?
by KimMeyers (see profile) 11/17/10

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

City of Thieves
by jwarfield (see profile) 06/26/12
Food
by cgolden (see profile) 02/29/12
The host served borscht and a Russian beet salad.
look at the webite for the Hemitage.
by little-sweetums (see profile) 02/14/12

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Ravages of Alzheimer’s "by Chickim4 (see profile) 03/15/19

Memory is a double edge sword in this novel. Marina tries holding on to her memories of the cherished paintings in the Hermitage Museum during the Seige of Leningrad while the devastating disease, Alzheimer’s... (read more)

 
  "The Madonnas of Leningrad "by maxwelljk (see profile) 05/10/16

I enjoyed the historical information, learning enough about the siege of Leningrad and the efforts involved in saving the art at The Hermitage as well as the incredible struggles of the citizens to survive... (read more)

 
  "Madonnas"by jwarfield (see profile) 06/26/12

Good book with much to think about.

 
  "Madonnas of lenningrad"by lakeside0001 (see profile) 06/26/12

 
  "Madonnas"by msegrue (see profile) 04/03/12

Life lesson through war and the atrocities that it can afflict but morality and humanity can prevail all through life in this book.

 
  "Beautiful Descriptions"by knitmarisa (see profile) 03/28/12

We thought this book had beautiful descriptions, both of the art and of the scenes. The author clearly did a lot of research and wove in lots of historical fact into her flashback scenes, however some... (read more)

 
  "History Lesson"by cgolden (see profile) 02/29/12

Everyone enjoyed the book, but it wasn't a favorite. It was interesting to read how they survived in the museum. Very sad about the present day Marina.

 
  "The madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean"by little-sweetums (see profile) 02/14/12

the author caring handles the heartbreak of memory loss and the effect it has on family. she gives an insightful account of the siege of Leningrad which many of us knew very little.

 
  "It Makes You Want to Visit St. Petersburg"by Pam Jones (see profile) 09/30/11

Our book club found this book to be too long, too boring. We thought there simply wasn't enough action and the characters were flat. BUT we were very intrigued by the Hermitage Museum and St. Petersburg.... (read more)

 
  "Madonna's of Leningrad"by madmab2 (see profile) 09/15/11

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