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Yvonne Zipter - Infraction

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, each of whom depends on her to light their own lives. There is her aunt Lidia, a spinster who, dying of consumption, exacts from her niece a promise to marry. There is Grigorii, Marya’s one-time math teacher, who longs for his former pupil to achieve the scholarly glory he cannot. 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, even if that means a platonic marriage. But when Sergei is consumed with desire for Marya, his anguish over the promise he made sets in motion a deadly chain of events. St. Petersburg itself adds a richness to these characters as they walk and muse 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 at the Marinsky Theater. 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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