The True Memoirs of Little K
By Adrienne Sharp
(Picador USA, Paperback, 9780312610715, 378pp.)
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
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A California Book Award Finalist
One of Oprah's Book Club's Ten Fantastic Books for Fall 2010
"Historical Novel Review" Editors' Choice
Exiled in Paris, the frail, elderly Mathilde Kschessinska sits down to write her memoirs. A lifetime ago, she was the vain, ambitious, impossibly charming "prima ballerina assoluta" of the tsar's Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg. Kschessinska's riveting storytelling soon thrusts us into a world lost to time: that great intersection of the Russian court and the Russian theater. Through Kschessinska's memories of her own triumphs and defeats, we witness the stories that changed history, from the seething beginnings of revolution to the end of a grand, decadent way of life that belonged to the nineteenth century. Based on fact, "The True Memoirs of Little K" is "an engrossing tale of love, loss, and history" ("The Wichita Eagle").
- The novel’s title claims these are Mathilde’s true memoirs. Is any memoir entirely true? What aspects of his or her life might a memoirist attempt to conceal—or rewrite? What is illuminating about reading a fictionalized account of someone’s life as opposed to an autobiography or a biography?