"Can a woman have both a fulfilling career and a storybook family life? ... If you want to see the dilemma smartly dramatized in the experience of an appealing, intelligent heroine, read Rachel Pastan's crisp novel, Lady of the Snakes."
Lady of the Snakesby Rachel Pastan
Jane Levitsky is a bright light in the field of nineteenth-century Russian literature, making her name as an expert on the novels of Grigory Karkov and the diaries of his wife, the long-suffering Masha Karkova. Jane is also wife to sweet, reasonable Billy and mother to lovable (if demanding) Maisie, roles she’s finding surprisingly challenging to juggle along
Jane Levitsky is a bright light in the field of nineteenth-century Russian literature, making her name as an expert on the novels of Grigory Karkov and the diaries of his wife, the long-suffering Masha Karkova. Jane is also wife to sweet, reasonable Billy and mother to lovable (if demanding) Maisie, roles she’s finding surprisingly challenging to juggle along with her ambitions. But when Jane uncovers evidence that Masha may have been more than muse and helpmeet to her famous husband, she seizes her ticket to academic superstardom. Little does she know that she has set in motion a chain of events that will come perilously close to unraveling both her marriage and her career. Lady of the Snakes will be instantly familiar—and instantly unforgettable—to anyone who has ever felt torn between two worlds.
"Pastan's writing is fluid and frank, and her characters are luminescent."
"Pastan has an assured, deft and lovely voice ... Pastan admirably tackles the challenge of writing in both contemporary voices and the voices of two 19th-century Russians."
The Washington Post
The woes of being a scholarly mom are highlighted in this highbrow chick lit entry from Pastan (This Side of Married). Jane Levitsky's research concerns Maria (Masha) Karkova, the fictional, gifted wife of the fictional philandering genius of 19th-century Russian literature, Grigory Karkov. Jane is in her first year of a tenure-track job at the competitive University of Wisconsin-Madison as she struggles to untangle the web of intrigue surrounding Masha and Grigory. Husband Billy has moved with her from California along with toddler daughter Maisie, but Jane doesn't have much time for either of them, a fact of which live-in nanny Felicia is well aware. Further, Jane's office is next door to the professor she has been hired to replace, the irascible but charming Otto Sigelman, who was responsible for bringing Karkov's literary works to light; though he's meant to be retired, Otto is still very much invested in the reputation of his literary hero, and Jane's researches may be a threat. Fast-paced, well-written and entertaining, Pastan's latest has a winning feminist twist and should turn up in more than a few faculty lounges. (Jan.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Having it all-motherhood, a career, a loving husband, and good friends-is a goal for many women. That is certainly the case for Jane Levitsky. Working toward her Ph.D. in the field of 19th-century Russian literature, Jane is especially passionate about the novels of Grigory Karkov and the diaries of his wife, Masha. Even after giving birth to a daughter, Maisie, she can't imagine leaving the world of the Karkovs. But then Jane and her husband relocate to Madison, WI, for her first academic post, and her dream world begins to crumble. Jane uncovers information about Masha that she believes could change how the world views Grigory's work. As she hunts down the literary clues to verify her hunch, her home life is torn asunder. Pastan (This Side of Married) has crafted an interesting take on modern life and women who try to have it all. She intersperses her narrative with excerpts detailing the lives of women in 19th-century Russia, creating a juxtaposition of cultural mores between the past and the present. Recommended for most public libraries.
PRAISE FOR LADY OF THE SNAKES
"A literary mystery crossed with a funny feminist commentary on marriage. Think A. S. Byatt linking arms in sisterhood with chick-lit champs Susan Isaacs and Jennifer Weiner. I was hooked from the opening scene."Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air
"Pastan's writing is fluid and frank, and her characters are luminescent."Washington Post Book World
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- First Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Meet the Author
Rachel Pastan is the author of This Side of Married. Her short fiction has earned a number of awards, including a PEN Syndicated Fiction Prize. She lives with her family in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, and teaches at Swarthmore College and the Bennington Writing Seminars.
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The novel is well written and I liked the way the author compared the main character's life as a wife and mother to the other women she knew as well as the woman whose life she was studying academically. The plot made me want to read on and the outcome was satisfying though fairly predictable.