Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Memoir Mondays... A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova

A Girl's Coming-Of-Age in post-Stalinist Soviet Union

From the Publisher... "A Mountain of Crumbs is the moving story of a young Soviet girl's discovery of the hidden truths of adulthood and her country's profound political deception. Elena, born with a desire to explore the world beyond her borders, finds her passion in the complexity of the English language -- but in the Soviet Union of the 1960s, such a passion verges on the subversive. Elena's home is no longer the majestic Russia of literature or the tsars. Instead, it is a nation humiliated by its first faltering steps after World War II, putting up appearances for the sake of its regime and fighting to retain its pride.

In this deeply affecting memoir, Elena re-creates the world that both oppressed and inspired her. She recounts stories passed down to her about the horrors of the Bolshevik Revolution and probes the daily deprivations and small joys of her family's bunkerlike existence. Through Elena's captivating voice, we learn not only the personal story of Russia in the second half of the twentieth century, but also the story of one rebellious citizen whose love of a foreign language finally transports her to a new world."

"In the 1920s, Elena Gorokhova's grandmother invented the crumb game. With Soviet Russia in the depths of a famine, she could only feed her children one piece of black bread and one sugar cube. The older children understood, but her 3-year-old screamed with hunger..."

"'Look how much you've got,'" her grandmother told the child, as she broke the bread and sugar into tiny bits. "'A whole mountain of crumbs.'" Pacified by the semblance of abundance, the little child would take an hour to pick up the meal, one crumb at a time, "plentiful and sweet."

A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova has gotten a lot of positive buzz in the publishing world. From reading about Elena Gorokhova's soon to be published memoir, I was taken by Elena's strength growing up within the confines of the Communist government that loomed large in her life, and her perseverance to get a good education at Leningrad University, learning English and becoming an instructor at the university. But the picture she paints of Russia should be an interesting one, as well the picture she paints of her family & friends, and I look forward to cracking the spine on this book! Published by Simon & Schuster, and being officially released Jan. 12th, you can read an excerpt of A Mountain of Crumbs from the publishers site. Plus, This Book will be Kindle Ready!

4 comments:

Diane said...

I have this book and am looking forward to it as well - looks like a terrific memoir.

Suzanne said...

Hi Diane!
Oh you lucky girl! You must have gotten an ARC! It really sounded good and I hope you enjoy it! Plus, I will look forward to what you think after you read it!

jennifer @ Mrs. Q: Book Addict said...

This book sounds great! I'll keep a look out for it.

Natalie W said...

Sounds like a great book. I'll have to add it to my list.

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