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Butterfly in Amber

Delia, an independent-minded Montreal woman of sixty and sexually experienced, leaves her married lover to go on a cruise along the Volga and enters into a forbidden but lustful and satisfying liaison with Kostya, a young member of the ship’s crew. Kostya, looking out for the best opportunity to leave his country, is in it for more than erotic pleasures, something Delia understands and acts accordingly. Inappropriate dalliance, however, on board and ports of call in a Russia at war with Chechnya is not the sole narrative engine of this acutely written novel. Memory and identity, the inexorable passing of time, and the desire to be more in imagination than in actuality, are driving motivators in the lives of such characters as the brilliantly conceived, and possibly lunatic Frank, an elderly gentleman who believes himself to be the son of the murdered tsarevitch Alexis and has designs on Delia. Kostya’s colourful mother and the mysterious, threatening man who seems to follow Delia also have their own plans. It’s Not Over Till It’s Over is a novel about choices, sex, living life on unfamiliar terrain, and the courage to act according to one’s desires, the consequences be damned, although discretion is always advisable, if not always followed.

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