THE BOOK OF HAPPINESS by Nina Berberova

THE BOOK OF HAPPINESS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A novel set in Paris in the 1920s, from the late Russian author (1901—93) whose plaintive novellas were collected in The Tattered Cloak (1991) and The Ladies of St. Petersburg (1998). Here, protagonist Vera is an unhappily married emigre whose exhaustive recall of her wealthy family’s dispersal and exile following the Revolution is triggered by the suicide of a lifelong friend, a gifted musician never able to develop his talent, or otherwise adapt to the shock of displacement from their homeland. The sense of loss and waste felt by such uprooted souls is powerfully present throughout a sometimes monotonous narrative, fortunately also redeemed by the vivid character of Vera’s invalid husband Alexander and by the compassionate intelligence with which Berberova has endowed her obviously autobiographical heroine.

Pub Date: April 27th, 1999
ISBN: 0-8112-1401-X
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: New Directions
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1999




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