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Elena Gorokhova Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

A Train to Moscow (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

A Mountain of Crumbs (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Russian Tattoo (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Elena Gorokhova is a Russian author of Biographies, memoirs and history stories. She grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, which was known as Leningrad during her time.

She got married at the age of 24 to an American and relocated to the United States to begin a new life, where she later decided to be a writer.

A-Train To Moscow
A-Train to Moscow is a story of a young girl named Sasha in the 1950s -1960s when she dreamt of becoming an actress when she grew up. As the story begins, Sasha lives her childhood in a small provincial town.

Andrei and Marik are her childhood friends living in a Russian town after World War II. Each of them is experiencing the effects and trauma of Stalin’s war and harsh leadership. As they grow up, their differences keep them together while also threatening to tear them apart. Becoming an actress is good since one can pretend for some time which gives one a chance to get away from the real world.

All the people around her have had their lives changed in one way or another by the political regime. To make matters worse, one of her close persons was taken away because of an unknown crime and never returned, forcing Sasha to wait hours in a food queue.

Sasha lives in a place filled with secrets, including her becoming an actress. At 17, she disobeys her parents when she leaves for Moscow by train to attend a drama audition. She also turns a deaf ear to her love, Andrei.

Before leaving the town, Sasha comes across a secret journal belonging to her uncle in the attic. Her uncle was an artist, and no one seemed to have any information on where he was years after the World war.

The journal exposes the lies and truth about Stalin’s brutal ways. It also narrates the years he spent in war and the harsh conditions he faced. Through Uncle Kolya’s revelations and tragic love, Sasha gets a guide through drama school and more motivation to be an actress.

At school, she explores her new world while still tied to the old world in some ways. The journal helps her learn about the terrible things that Kolya witnessed in the war and the loss of the lady he was in love with. She also realizes that the leaders don’t value human life, and their efforts to prove their strength do not stop.

Sash also finds out secrets about her family that leave her shattered. After graduation, she starts working in Leningrad, where Andrei is currently a communist Party committee member who censors everything, including Sasha’s acting, art, books, and clothing.

When past secrets are unveiled, Sasha’s determination meets Andrei’s censor duties, and it’s up to Sasha to decide if her dream career is worth her sacrifice. They meet multiple times, and each time they are reminded that their love for one another can never exist again.

When she becomes famous, the political regime always watches her every move. When a tragedy comes to her family, she doubts whether she made the right decision. Should she have left her family and her lover in the name of following her dream? Is there any chance that her missing uncle is still alive?
She soon realizes that her dedication to her career and the arts might help her unlock her freedom and discover the truth. Sasha thought that becoming an actress would make her happy when she was young; things weren’t going as planned.

The story focuses on the decisions, whether big or small, people make in life and how they shape one’s personal life. There is a theme of distrust of the government, and it’s a story of letting go and exploring the relationship between want and duty while focusing on mothers and their daughters, peace and war.
Sasha is strong, and even after losing her childhood friend, the man he loved and her family, she still keeps moving forward. The writer uses vivid imagery to show the multi-layers of experiences and emotions of the Russians and the war-torn country.

A Mountain of Crumbs
The novel is a memoir of a discovery made by a Soviet girl about the truths about adulthood and the country’s political lies. The young Elena grows up in cold war Leningrad as she strives to get used to the landscape of the Soviet Union.

Elena always has desired to explore the world and, in the process, found her passion in the English language. While growing up, she had an unremarkable life in various ways. Her father was a member of the communist party while her mother was a doctor and her elder sister wanted to be an actress.

Her family lived in a Leningrad apartment, where they waited in lines to get consumer goods. While Elena was still young, she developed some suspicion and mistrust of the authorities’ myths about the public, especially children in their schools. Even after the adversity in the soviet system, Elena Gorokhova dared to advance to English.

Elena has a questioning mind, but she is aware that in soviet life, you have to keep everything to yourself and revealing anything could put one in a lot of trouble. She knows that you’ve to be dishonest to survive.

Elena grew up believing in the superiority of Russia and communism. When her sister decides to pursue an acting career instead of medicine or engineering, the idea of paths to happiness begins to show despite the critics she gets from society.

Due to her intelligence, she knew the art of unquestioning obedience and was so talented in the art of deception when need be. In the entire memoir, the reader takes a journey through the intriguing and beautiful parts of the country as the author illuminates the ostentatious magnificence of St. Petersburg. This place was referred to as Leningrad while she lived there.

The story is fast-paced, and the writing style is intriguing. The author wields a crisp voice that brings to life the mundane while creating a colorful world and sad town. She paints a fantastic picture of Leningrad in the 1970s while focusing on the daily things like milk, shoes, bread and toilet paper.

She also points out the western culture, the bureaucracy, cultural propaganda that made Russia appear like the developing promise in an evil world.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Elena Gorokhova

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