The True Mem­oirs of Lit­tle K

  • Review
By – August 31, 2011
In this fic­tion­al mem­oir, Mathilde Kschessin­s­ka describes her expe­ri­ence as a pri­ma bal­le­ri­na and mis­tress to Tzar Nicholas II. The sparkling nar­ra­tive offers a col­or­ful account of the back­stage saga of the Russ­ian bal­let, and also a front row seat to the dra­ma of the Russ­ian rev­o­lu­tion. The diva’s own for­tune was inter­twined with the fate of the Romanov dynasty, pros­per­ing by their favor and forced into exile when the empire was over­thrown. Though known as Lit­tle K,” her char­ac­ter seems larg­er than life. She yearned to occu­py cen­ter stage, both in and out of the the­ater, dis­parag­ing the women of the impe­r­i­al fam­i­ly and declar­ing of a younger renowned bal­le­ri­na, I’ve out­lived her, you know.” Using thor­ough research and a cap­ti­vat­ing nar­ra­tor, author Adri­enne Sharp con­jures both the grandeur and col­lapse of tzarist Rus­sia. The 19th cen­tu­ry world has long dis­ap­peared. Yet Lit­tle K endures, seem­ing­ly by virtue of her vain ambi­tion and by the deter­mined voice that enlivens the events recalled in this jew­el of a book.

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