Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy

By Elizabeth Kiem


Marina is not your typical protagonist. She is dubious, doubtless, and courageous. Her childhood and youth in the Soviet Union influences her to be this way. Marinas mother discovers something she not suppose to know. The mother disappears in the Soviet Union which forced Marina to take responsibility for herself and leaves Marina devastated without having her mother and not knowing what happened to her. In addition, Marina had to fleet to Brooklyn because of the whole situation with her father who just can't seem to recover from a mental state. It was not easy for Marina to adjust to a new country, new mentality, and new languages and a new high school.

Literary Elements

In the novel Daughter, Dancer ,traitor spy Kiem uses characterization. Marina is a teenage dancer and is the daughter of Privilege. Her mother is a long time leading dancer in the Soviet Union. Her mother’s disappearance is the great tragedy in her life, it makes her take on responsibility for herself. Her journey to Brooklyn is empowering despite her heartbreak, and allows her to discover her own strength of character.

Kiem also uses Setting in the novel Daughter, Dancer, Traitor, Spy. Part of the novel takes place in the 1980s in The Soviet Union. Kiem skillfully creates the setting of the Soviet lifestyle by dropping Russian words and traits into the story, and describing traditions and habits adopted to survive with the bitterness of the government. During this time, the Soviet Union was full of problems, secrets and lots of Warfare. The other half of the Novel takes place in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Brooklyn is completely different from The Soviet Union which makes it difficult for Marina to adjust to the new environment.

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I, personally, do not recommend the book "Daughter, Dancer, Traitor, Spy" When reading this novel I found it very difficult to follow along and comprehend what's going on. I am very unfamiliar with the setting of this story and unaware of the history behind it which leads to more difficulties understanding the story. I do not praise "Daughter. Dancer, Traitor, spy."