Cape of Storms
by Nina Berberova
Translated from the Russian by Marian Schwartz
In Cape of Storms, Nina Berberova portrays a very specific generation––one born in Russia, displaced by the Revolution, and trying to adapt to a new home, Paris. Three sisters––Dasha, Sonia, and Zai––share the same father, Tiagen, an attractive, weak-willed, womanizing White Russian, but each thinks differently about her inner world of beliefs and aspirations, and consequently each follows a different path. Dasha marries and leaves for a bourgeois expatriate life in colonial Africa. Zai, the youngest, and an appealing adolescent, flirts with becoming an actress or a poet. Sonia, the middle daughter, completes a university degree but falls victim to a shocking tragedy. Cape of Storms is a shattering book that opens with a hair-raising scene in which Dasha witnesses her mother’s murder at the hands of Bolshevik thugs, and ends with the Blitzkrieg sweeping toward Paris. It is unparalleled in Berberova’s work for its many shifts of mood and viewpoint and secures the author’s place as “Chekhov’s most vital inheritor” (Boston Review).