A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova
A Memoir

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Synopsis

Elena Gorokhova’s A Mountain of Crumbs is the moving story of a Soviet girl who discovers the truths adults are hiding from her and the lies her homeland lives by.

Elena’s country is no longer the majestic Russia of literature or the tsars, but a nation struggling to retain its power and its pride. Born with a desire to explore the world beyond her borders, Elena 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 is controlled by the state the same way she is controlled by her mother, a mirror image of her motherland: overbearing, protective, difficult to leave. In the battle between a strong-willed daughter and her authoritarian mother, the daughter, in the end, must break free and leave in order to survive.

Through Elena’s captivating voice, we learn not only the stories of Russian family life in the second half of the twentieth century, but also the story of one rebellious citizen whose curiosity and determination finally transport her to a new world. It is an elegy to the lost country of childhood, where those who leave can never return.
 

About Elena Gorokhova

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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 currently lives in New Jersey.
 
Published December 26, 2009 by Simon & Schuster. 332 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Mountain of Crumbs

Kirkus Reviews

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Artful memoir about the angst and joys of growing up behind the Iron Curtain.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of A Mountain of Crumbs: A Memoir

The New York Times

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A slight but endearing memoir about the deprivations and joys of growing up in the Soviet Union in the 1960s and ’70s.

Jan 13 2010 | Read Full Review of A Mountain of Crumbs: A Memoir

The New York Times

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English became a secret path to personal freedom for the author of this memoir, who escaped the confines of the Soviet Union at age 24.

Feb 07 2010 | Read Full Review of A Mountain of Crumbs: A Memoir

The Telegraph

Gorokhova finds herself, as a young woman, never having been inside .

Aug 06 2010 | Read Full Review of A Mountain of Crumbs: A Memoir

Curious Book Fans

Such a book – and a fine example indeed – is Elena Gorokhova’s book A Mountain of Crumbs – Growing up Behind the Iron Curtain.

May 25 2012 | Read Full Review of A Mountain of Crumbs: A Memoir

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