Review

The Tattered Cloak: And Other Stories

by Nina Berberova



Nina Berberova's THE TATTERED CLOAK AND OTHER STORIES is a
collection by arguably one of the best of the Russian writers from
the early part of the last century. The experience of Russian
emigres in Paris is a classic story of displacement and future
shock, after the ravages of war and a bad economy sent families
rushing towards the heart of the Western world. Berberova could
very well be telling her own story, hidden amongst the tales of
lowly blue-collar workers and the "shabby genteel" of the
aristocracy that doesn't know what to make of the brave new world
that is building its foundations.

"The world is going to hell, but among it all a blessed light is
burning quietly for me --- not from the star, which went out a long
time ago, but from a new source, like a fog filled with the
trembling light of stars." In gentle phrases and with the light
touch of a truly enlightened heart, Berberova gives us an
across-the-board look at how the world was changing and affecting
all of her fellow Russians during the difficult times of the '30s
and '40s. Given what our nation has lived through since that time,
American readers will certainly empathize with the hardships of
these people that were searching for ways to stay alive and perhaps
even eke out a little enjoyment for themselves. It is in their
heartache, their search for a new life, that Berberova enacts her
timeless compassion, and each story brings us closer to the heart
of the immigrant experience from the easy perspective of seven
decades of historical progression.

Berberova came to the U. S. in 1951 with $75 in her pocket. An
instructor at Yale and later at Princeton, she was honored as a
Chevalier of the French Order of Arts and Letters before she died.
Like her countryman, Chekov, Berberova employs the direct and
intellectual perceptions of a natural writer with the heart of a
renegade, and in so doing, THE TATTERED CLOAK can find a home
amongst the immigrant classics of our generation and those that
came before us.



Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on January 23, 2011

The Tattered Cloak: And Other Stories
by Nina Berberova

  • Publication Date: November 30, -0001
  • Genres: Short Stories
  • Paperback: 307 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • ISBN-10: 0811214737
  • ISBN-13: 9780811214735