The True Memoirs of Little K

(Fiction; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010)

The True Memoirs of Little K are neither true nor memoirs in the strictest sense. Rather, they are a novel, reimagining of a historical figure and the way she might have told her own story. “Little K,” Czar Nicholas II’s pet name for Mathilde Kschessinska, was a prima ballerina in Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century; the novelist captures Mathilde as a ninety-nine-year-old living in Paris and recounting the story of her dazzling career. The story of Little K’s first love affair with the gentle Czarevitch Nicholas, who is suddenly thrust into the position of emperor of all the Russias, is rendered with a tender, moving touch. Sharp’s prose is luminous in the depiction of the splendor of the last czar’s imperial court and of the details of life and historical events in St. Petersburg during the final days of imperial Russia.

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