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Monday, June 23, 2008

Book Update - The Madonnas of Leningrad

I read Debra Dean's book, The Madonnas of Leningrad online through the New York Public Library's Ebook section. I thought it sounded like an amazing story. It was one of those stories that I felt it's 256 pages was just too short.

The story revolves around Marina Buriakov who immigrated to the United States with her husband from Russia. They are in their eighties and Marina is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. When her memories of the present are fading fast, her memories of her life in Leningrad during World War II are rich and vivid. In Leningrad she was employed at the Hermitage Museum as a docent and is helping to pack and transport the collection out of Leningrad to safety as the Germans are starting to bomb the city.

I thought this was a beautiful and touching story of one woman's survival during World War II. The depiction of Leningrad, especially through the winter, is harrowing. I loved her knowledge of the works of art in the Hermitage and since I was reading the book online I kept looking up all the works of art she was describing. If you read this book, make sure you check out the Hermitage Museum's website. The only problem I had with this book was that it was far too short.

Oh...and here's some of the Madonna's mentioned in the book:

Raphaello Santi - Madonna & Child (The Madonna Conestabile)
Leonardo da Vinci - Madonna and the Child (The Benois Madonna)
Leonardo da Vinci - Madonna and the Child (The Litta Madonna)
And here's a painting mentioned in the book as well. It's Rembrandt's Danae:
Also read here on the Hermitage's website about what happened to the painting which is pretty interesting in of itself.

Also Reviewed by:

Age 30 - A Year of Books

Booking Mama

S. Krishna's Books

A Fondness for Reading


  1. I simply adored this book. Thanks for sharing some of the artwork!

  2. Thanks for the link! I added you to my review as well. ;)

  3. I read the book a couple of years ago, I was touched by the dedication of the staff in the museum and the love had for the works of art, it's a view of the war that isn't commonly seen.


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