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Medea Georgievna Sinoply Mendez is the last remaining pureblooded Greek in a family that has lived on the Crimean coast for centuries. The childless widow of a Russian Jewish ex-revolutionary, she is the touchstone of a large family of nieces and nephews who, together with their spouses, children, and friends, gather each spring and summer at her home.
As the novel opens, the “languor of love” permeates the Crimean air: affairs being and end, hearts are broken, and old memories rise to the surface. Ludmila Ulitskaya creates a brilliantly detailed and finely nuanced tapestry of the arrivals, sojourns, and departures of Medea's "children"—of romantic entanglements, disappointments, conflicts, and passions. The shifting currents of erotic attraction and competition intertwine with the dramatic saga of a family surviving the upheavals that characterized Soviet life in the twentieth century. And at the heart of it all is Medea—a magnificent figure for the ages.