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Vera leads a dreary life in Paris, tied down by an invalid husband until she travels to the scene of the suicide of a dear childhood friend, where she becomes steeped in memories of how things were and could have been.
Novels originally published in the 1930s and 1940s reveal the lives and uncertain futures of Russian housekeepers, waiters, intellectuals, and aristocrats exiled in Paris on the eve of World War II.
Doomed to living in her mentor's shadow, Sonechka, a talented but mousy young pianist employed by a beautiful soprano and her devoted, bourgeois husband, secretly schemes to expose infidelities.