Poet and novelist Cherry (My Life with Dr. Joyce Brothers, 1990, etc.) makes a memorable first foray into nonfiction with this detailed chronicle of a long-distance, long-term love affair between her and prominent Latvian composer, Imant Kalnin. From their first meeting in Moscow in 1965, in the lobby of the Metropol Hotel, Cherry and Kalnin were virtually inseparable. Although forced apart by the end of Cherry's brief tour of the Soviet Union, they remained in touch through constant correspondence until time and distance wrought inevitable changes and each married someone else. Ten years later, a new chapter began when they realized their mistakes and decided to marry each other instead. Another short visit to the USSR brought a renewed intensity of feeling, but no marriage, as Kalnin's wife refused to give him a divorce and the authorities proved recalcitrant. Years of frustration followed, with intercepted mail, Soviet and American bureaucratic snarls of Kafkaesque dimensions, and KGB harassment, ending in the ruin of Kalnin's career and his being proclaimed a ``nonperson.'' Yet another meeting was made possible recently in New York through the blessings of perestroika and the generosity of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, but the time for marriage had passed. By turns a love story, travelogue, rhapsody, and metaphysical discourse, Kelly's lyrical (though occasionally flippant and banal) assessment gives clear expression to the incredible complexity of human affection thwarted by cold war realities.
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