A deft, brisk 1936 novella by the Russian expatriate (The Tattered Cloak, 2001, etc.).
Berberova’s latest concerns her passive title character’s transformative involvement with an ill-fated ménage. That character, narrator Sonechka Antonovskaya, becomes the live-in accompanist for flamboyant (and flagrantly adulterous) operatic soprano Maria Nikolaevna Travina, whose cavalier treatment of the husband she cuckolds and the lovers she manipulates wreaks predictable havoc—and also foreshadows and provokes Sonechka’s own surrender to prevarication, failure, and renunciation. A slight yet moving work that throbs with very real pathos.