THE PRINCESS AND THE DRAGON by Roberto Pazzi

THE PRINCESS AND THE DRAGON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Italian author Pazzi (Searching for the Emperor, 1988) returns to the Romanovs, in this instance Alexander's neurasthenic brother George: too pure a flame to be seriously considered for succession to the throne, and shuttled off to rest cures in his name province, Georgia. There, he pines for his loved one, a young woman named Helen, from whom he's kept apart, and visits with a cadre of centenarians who give him a great perspective on life. Ultimately, he is taken around the world by faithful friend Prince Ourousov, a trip that includes--jumping around in time--a visit with Napoleon on St. Helena, observation of the execution of King Louis in revolutionary France, and a meeting with Stalin in the early 30s. Pazzi's Russophilia is given to flights of lyricism (not helped much by Fitzgerald's often confusing English: ""He sweated, sharing the effort of the windows to sustain images of birds in flight around a manor house tall enough to reach the clouds"") and to lovely balletic leaps of probability. But the earlier book had more punch; this one is eggshell-fragile, watercolored, very much the exquisite--and forgettable--thing.

Pub Date: May 29th, 1990
Publisher: Knopf