The Ladies from St. Petersburg
by Nina Berberova
Writing with a resonating clarity, unsentimental yet full of human sympathy, Nina Berberova stands as one of the treasures of twentieth-century literature and the continuance of the great Russian tradition. The Ladies from St. Petersburg contains three novellas which chronologically paint a picture of the dawn of the Russian Revolution, the flight from its turmoil, and the plight of an exile in a new and foreign place all of which Berberova knew from her own personal experience. In the title story the protagonists are taking a vacation, unaware that their lives are about to be irrevocably changed. In “Zoya Andreyevna,” an elegant, privileged woman, in headlong flight, falls ill among unfriendly strangers who resent her wealth and position even though she does not flaunt them. In “The Big City,” an emigrant lands in a surreal New York City, a place that is not yet, and may never be, his home.