×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Betrayal
     

The Betrayal

5.0 3
by Helen Dunmore
 

See All Formats & Editions

Internationally-acclaimed author Helen Dunmore follows her bestselling novel, The Siege, with a riveting and emotionally absorbing portrait of post-war Soviet Russia, a world of violence and terror, where the severest acts of betrayal can come from the most trusted allies.

In 1952 Leningrad, Andrei, a young doctor, and Anna, a nursery school teacher, are

Overview

Internationally-acclaimed author Helen Dunmore follows her bestselling novel, The Siege, with a riveting and emotionally absorbing portrait of post-war Soviet Russia, a world of violence and terror, where the severest acts of betrayal can come from the most trusted allies.

In 1952 Leningrad, Andrei, a young doctor, and Anna, a nursery school teacher, are forging a life together in the postwar, post-siege wreckage. But they know their happiness is precarious, like that of millions of Russians who must avoid the claws of Stalin’s merciless Ministry of State Security. When Andrei is forced to treat the seriously ill child of a senior secret police officer, his every move is scrutinized, and it becomes painfully clear that his own fate, and that of his family, is bound to the child’s. Trapped in an impossible game of life and death, and pitted against a power-mad father’s raging grief, Andrei and Anna must avoid the whispers and watchful eyes of those who will say or do anything to save themselves.

With The Betrayal, Dunmore returns with a powerful and stirring novel of ordinary people in the grip of a terrible and sinister regime, and an evocative tale of a love that will not be silenced.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Dunmore revisits Stalin's Leningrad in a powerful novel set a decade after The Siege. It's 1952 and Andrei Alekseyev; his wife, Anna Levina, a nursery school teacher; and her younger brother, Kolya (key characters in The Siege), have learned to live inconspicuously. In a world in which citizens are expected to be "vigilant" in reporting questionable behavior, attracting attention can lead to imprisonment or death. Andrei is a pediatrician with a dilemma in the form of a very ill 10-year-old boy whose surname evokes terror: Volkov, the boy's father, is an infamous senior officer in the Ministry for State Security. Andrei has little hope that his professional ethics will protect him or his family, but he allows them to guide him nonetheless, and the tale that unfolds is riveting. Dunmore alludes to the arrest of hundreds of physicians, most of them Jews, but for Andrei, the danger isn't that Volkov considers him part of the fabricated conspiracy of "murderers in white coats." The threat is that Volkov likes to punish those who displease him. With precise period detail and astute psychological insight, Dunmore brings the last months of Stalin's reign to life and reminds us why some eras shouldn't be forgotten. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

—A New York Times Editors' Choice
—Short-listed for The Orwell Prize and The Commonwealth Writers' Prize (South Asia and Europe)
—Long listed for the Man Booker Prize

"An emotionally charged thriller, The Betrayal unfolds breathlessly and with great skill. . . . You don't want to put it down. . . . Elegant yet devastating."—The Seattle Times

"Vividly depicts the difficulty of living by principle in a tyrannical society, in which paranoia infects every act, and even ordinary citizens become instruments of terror."—The New Yorker

“Enormously readable, [The Betrayal] personalizes in intimate detail a harsh and important period in modern Russian history.”—Library Journal

“Beautifully crafted, gripping, moving, enlightening. Sure to be one of the best historical novels of the year.”—Time Out (London)

“Magnificent, brave, tender.”—Independent on Sunday

"Eloquently conveys . . . a terrible chapter in history. . . . This is a book that should be read and valued." —Washington Times

"Somber, [with] stringent beauty."—Chicago Tribune

"Historical fiction of the highest order." —Kirkus Reviews

“A masterpiece. An extraordinarily powerful evocation of a time of unimaginable fear. We defy you to read it without a pounding heart and a lump in your throat."—Grazia

"With precise period detail and astute psychological insight, Dunmore brings the last months of Stalin's reign to life and reminds us why some eras shouldn't be forgotten."—Publishers Weekly

“A remarkably feeling, nuanced novel . . . With her seemingly small canvas, Dunmore has created a universe.”—Sunday Herald

"Enthralling. Emotionally gripping . . . ordinary people struggling against a city’s beautiful indifference, and clinging on for dear life."—Daily Telegraph

"Scrupulous, pitch-perfect. With heart-pounding force, Dunmore builds up a double narrative of suspense."—Sunday Times (UK)

"Dunmore chillingly evokes the atmosphere of Soviet suspicion, where whispered rumors and petty grievances metastasize into lies and denunciation. A gripping read."—Daily Mail

"Meticulous, clever, eloquent. An absorbing and thoughtful tale of good people in hard times."—The Guardian

"Dunmore’s genius lies in her ability to convey the strange Soviet atmosphere of these very Soviet stories using the most subtle of clues."—Spectator

"Storytelling on a grand scale."—The Times (UK)

"Riveting . . . Gripping . . . Soviet Russia is a popular setting for historical novels . . . but The Betrayal takes this genre to the next level. . . . Because her characters are so expertly drawn, the dialogue so believable, and the conflicts so intriguing, the historical setting paints itself. There is no extraneous description, no heavy-handed narrator forcing the reader to see the scene. The reader is simply in 1950's Leningrad, struggling with Anna and Andrei. Dunmore's ability to integrate the reader so seamlessly into her narrative is masterful. This is a powerful novel, one that has stuck in my mind since I finished reading it."—Sarah Sacha Dollacker, BookBrowse

Library Journal
Celebrated and award-winning author Dunmore brings readers back to afflicted Leningrad, the heroic Russian city that barely survived the appalling siege she chronicled in her 2002 novel, The Siege. Picking up with heroine Anna in 1952, Dunmore portrays a city under siege again, this time gripped by Stalin's terror. A young patient with an aggressive case of cancer becomes a patient of Anna's husband, Andrei. The boy's father is head of the secret police, so the staff treads cautiously. Soon, though, Anna, now a nursery school teacher, and her brother Kolya are sucked into the vortex of rage when the boy's treatment falters. Incorporating painstaking research both about the security apparatus and about the medical environment, Dunmore portrays the anguish of good-hearted people trying to live normal lives under a viciously capricious government. VERDICT Advise readers to delve into The Siege first to get the best value from the sequel. Enormously readable, this novel personalizes in intimate detail a harsh and important period of modern Russian history for YA and adult readers. [See Prepub Alert, 4/4/11.]—Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, VA
Kirkus Reviews

In her sequel toThe Siege(2002, etc.), Dunmore returns to Leningrad in 1952, compressing the anxiety and terror of the postwar Stalinist years into the intimate details of one family's crisis.

A sense of doom takes over from the first page when pediatrician Andrei is approached by a nervously sweating colleague who twists his arm to consult on a case they both know will bring trouble. Volkov, the head of State Security, has brought in his 10-year-old son Gorya with a badly swollen leg. X-rays show a cancerous tumor; Gorya's leg must be amputated. Andrei, whose specialty is arthritis, has no expertise in oncology, but Volkov demands he take charge of the case because Gorya likes him. Anti-Semitic Volkov even agrees to Andrei's recommendation of a Jewish surgeon. Although the amputation is successful and Gorya appears on the road to recovery, the surgeon immediately transfers out of Leningrad and recommends Andrei do the same to lower his visibility. Instead, he and his wife Anna, who fell in love during the Nazi's siege on the city, take a fatalistic approach, barely altering their routine. Since the wartime death of Anna's father, they have concentrated on raising Anna's little brother Kolya, now 16, like their own son in the relatively comfortable apartment they inherited from Anna's father, a politically unpublishable writer. In this relentlessly dark novel, Anna's petty battle with a neighbor who complains about Kolya's piano playing passes for comic relief. When one of the characters is arrested, history goes on to create an ironic deus ex machina par none—the arrest occurs in 1952; Stalin dies in 1953 and the iron glove relaxes.

Fictional drama blends seamlessly, if painfully, with factual history in this historical fiction of the highest order.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802170880
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
09/06/2011
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
206,359
Product dimensions:
5.42(w) x 8.26(h) x 0.92(d)

Meet the Author

Helen Dunmore is the author of eleven novels, including The Siege, short listed for the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; A Spell of Winter, winner of the Orange Prize; and With Your Crooked Heart.

Visit her website at helendunmore.com

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

The Betrayal: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Story kept your interest from page one. This is a must read book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent historical novel! Hard to put down with real insight into life in Russia during Stalin's last years. No fluff. Very believable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago