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Although Karl Marz may be turning over in his grave, it is clear that Nckrasov's modern day Soviet novel is closer to Sagan than to socialist realism. The titular is an impulsive, irrational, arty sculptress of 40, married to a paternalistic widower of , making love with a perturched, pretty athlete of 20. This typically bourgeois menage a tra turns into grand opera upon the return of Dimka, that poet with the gypsy-black forelock whom she had loved in her youth and who had become the innocent victim of Stalinist para. Kira attempts to recapture their past and confronts only the changes that twenty years had made in both their lives which sends her back to her home and husband in Moscow. Throughout there are signs of the literary thaw; glorifies neither the state damned; workers compromise with the laws, and overall the chief feeling is one of emptiness. It is in this aspect that the chief significance of this novel is found. While Nckrasov creates a warm humanity, his pen seems dipped in good will rather than in full realization of suffering. And the portrait of Kira characterization demanded by discriminating renders, while the at times seems fuzzy.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1962
Publisher: Pantheon