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Enjoy her fascinating memoirs about growing up in Soviet Russia in the 1960s, before she managed to escape to the west, thanks to her love of language.
Thank YOU for your comment @SusannaC – glad to have helped and look forward to hearing where you travel to next, and with what literary accompaniment….
And @kazbeth67 – you’re so right about the political impact on people. I would love to have the opportunity to have an open and honest (bug-free!) conversation with a few Russian people of different ages, to hear what they really think of the current regime, with Mr Putin having just been sworn in for another term.
I always research new locations before I travel, but it didn’t occur to me to read a memoir.
It makes a lot of sense, to have an insider view and get a deeper feel of the place. Thank you!
Never been to Russia but it is on my list. Fascinating to see the effect of politics on a people.
And thanks @SilverSurferLyn – well done for embracing those exciting travel opportunities. And ‘always have a book to hand on my travels and love reading books with a cultural backdrop’ – exactly the reason why Silver Travel partner TripFiction was set up, to focus on books with a strong sense of place and to help you see a location through an author’s eyes.
You should be able to find some interesting books on the TripFiction database to read on your Turkey and Croatia adventures.
I read the perfect book set in Chernobyl whilst on my recent trip to Ukraine:
Happy reading and happy travels.
I always try and absorb some of the culture of the countries I visit and have now started to travel to places I would not dreamed of going to in my younger days. Turkey already booked and Croatia soon; and Russia and China I would like to learn more about before I depart. Always have a book to hand on my travels and love reading books with a cultural backdrop.
Fantastic insight into Russia. I wanted to visit Russia but now maybe I would prefer to read about it – after the poisoning scare.
The Silver Travel Book Club’s current choice is the intriguing memoir A Mountain of Crumbs: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Elena Gorokhova.
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 bunker-like 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.
Don’t forget that we’d love to hear about your own travel experiences in Russia, whether in the days of the Soviet Union before the dismantling of the Iron Curtain, or more recently in so-called modern Russia. Please comment on this Forum or on Silver Travel’s Facebook page, and the best two entries from Silver Travellers will win a copy of A Mountain of Crumbs: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain.
Thank you, comrades….and happy reading.
Thanks everyone for your brilliant posts on Russian experiences and thoughts, for this month’s Silver Travel Book Club choice of A Mountain of Crumbs: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Elena Gorokhova.
@JennieSilver – love the image of you navigating your way through unfriendly soldier-filled Moscow airport in the early 1980s.
@Kay9 – how brave to go on a birdwatching safari to Siberia so soon after the fall of the Iron Curtain. And I can imagine how Russia today continues to combine functionality (‘concrete blocks of flats’) with natural beauty (‘beautiful forests and small hamlets’).
@maritravel – great anecdotes from your trip to Russia in the 1970s. ‘Culture turned on its head’ sounds like a perfect description of this intriguing country. As Winston Churchill said of Russia in his 1939 radio broadcast: ‘It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.’
I haven’t been to today’s Russia, but I got more than a glimpse of Soviet times on my recent trip with Explore to Chernobyl and Kiev in Ukraine, which gained its most recent independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, but which every day fights to keep its borders intact in the face of Mr Putin’s ambitions.
Please keep the comments coming. We might not have lived there like Elena Gorokhova did before starting a new life in the US, but any insights from travel experiences there are welcome.