Novel set in the Dordogne
Location(s): St Petersburg (Leningrad)
Genre(s): Fiction, Historical
Era(s): 19th century
Marya Zhukova is a woman of many passions. Her husband isn’t one of them. It’s mathematics and literature that captivate her, in part, but her lover, Vera, enthralls her most of all. These are, however, all dangerous obsessions in the socially turbulent St. Petersburg of 1875.
Marya is the fiery center to a small solar system of characters. There is her aunt Lidia, a spinster who exacts from her niece a promise to marry. There is Grigorii, Marya’s one-time math teacher. There is Vera, a young tutor surprised to find she’s fallen in love with a woman. There is Sergei, an earnest librarian captivated by Marya and willing to do whatever it takes to be near her, including a platonic marriage. Finally, there is St. Petersburg itself, adding a richness to these characters as they walk along the city’s canals or bounce along the rutted streets behind a hardy droshky driver on their way to dine at Privato or Leiner’s Deli or to watch ballet. Inspired by a real-life account, Infraction takes place at a time when women who yearn for more find that freedom comes at a cost.
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