Maria Kontak


Maria Kontak left her native Poland at the age of nine. Her desire to communicate led to the study of languages (English, French, Spanish, Russian, Czech, Ukrainian, and German) and she developed a love of literature and of psychology. Maria holds a doctorate in Russian literature from the University of Michigan and has worked as a journalist, diplomat, and an international business and trade specialist. An author of short stories, she is putting the finishing touches on a novel, The Thirty Third Year.


7 entries by Maria Kontak


If you have tired of watching Anna Karenina’s anguished life on film, seeing Raskolnikov’s next villainous act recreated in the comics, or enduring one too many Lolita wannabes in print or on the screen, it’s time to dig deeper into Russia’s literary troves. There, you’ll find rogues, critters, ghouls, and body parts — in other words, some of the most fascinating fictional characters you could ever hope to meet.

Book Review

What Changes Everything

Masha Hamilton

A kidnapping in Afghanistan weaves together the lives of disparate characters in this novel of loss, family, identity and fate.

Book Review


Elif Shafak

Inseparable Turkish Kurd twin sisters are at the heart of this family saga that blends magic, mystery and realism.

Book Review

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories

Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, selected and translated by Anna Summers

The author’s newest collection of short stories follows women as they live out dreams and illusions in their pursuit of Cupid.

Book Review

Orlando Figes

Letters of passion, poetry and privation connect two true-life young lovers kept apart over many years and miles by the authoritarian politics and terrors of post-war Soviet Union.

Book Review

Anna Solomon

Bridal or bridle? A young Jewish woman is harnessed into an arranged marriage in this 19th-century historical novel.

Book Review

Daisy Goodwin

The Gilded Age meets the Kardashians in a sweeping upstairs-downstairs novel about the quest for a monied husband.