Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Tuesday Book Review on Wednesday


Four-star (more like 4.5-star) review of A Train to Moscow by Elena Gorakhova

 This was an interesting book. I couldn't help comparing it to Annie Karenina, (spoiler alert) especially the ending. Then again, it’s Russia and a rather Russian story. I also thought of Casablanca at the end. A girl, Sasha, grows up in a tiny Russian hamlet and dreams of becoming an Actress. (The capital A is appropriate.) Acting and playing a fictional character, for her, is important as a way to show people reality, but she lives in post-WWII Russia, where art of any kind is restricted to that which shows the Soviet Union in a good light. Although she earns a place at a drama school in Moscow and goes on to a career at a theater in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), she also must deal with friends and family at home. Her grandmother waits for a son who never came home from the war but also supports Sasha emotionally. Her mother, a doctor, seems to struggle with what she believes. And her stern grandfather frowns at her choice of career and is a die-hard Communist. Her remaining childhood best friend and sometime lover rises through the ranks of the party. The plot is tightly woven and the characters well-written. 

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