Monday, March 30, 2015

An Absorbing and Elegiac Look Behind the Iron Curtain

By Elena Gorokhova    |   Friday, March 27, 2015 - Off the Shelf

Editor's Note: Elena Gorokhova grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, although for most of her life it was known to her as Leningrad. At the age of twenty-four she married an American and came to the United States with only a twenty kilogram suitcase to start a new life. She is the bestselling author of the memoirs, A Mountain of Crumbs and Russian Tattoo.
Zhivago’s Children catapulted me back into the world of my Leningrad childhood. Before settling in New Jersey, I grew up among the Soviet intelligentsia: the poets, actors, and bards whose lives are examined in this well-researched and nuanced volume by Vladislav Zubok, a Russian émigré. 

These artists and writers were often my only escape from the grinding grayness that was our constant reality in the Soviet Union. It was a place that had isolated itself from the world, “a country of closed borders and captive minds” where foreign travel was unimaginable. Yet despite the risks, there were a few who were able to break loose from the trap of Soviet indoctrination and become “a vibrant and diverse tribe, with intellectual curiosity, artistic yearnings, and a passion for high culture.” They were able to see beyond the Soviet men... READ FULL POST

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