©2008 Simon Montefiore; (P)2008 Tantor
I was pleasantly surprised by the suspense in this historical novel. Despite its relatively slow start, the story held my interest and filled in a missing chunk of what life must have been like for those enthralled by the Bolshevik philosophy that drove the Russian revolution and steered a nation through the dark waters of Stalin's macabre reign. The characterizations are strong, and Sashenka lingers as a haunting figure long after the author's last sentences fade to silence. The reader of this audiobook version is truly excellent--a true artist who brings the novel to full and vibrant life. I hope you enjoy this novel as much as I did.
Great story! From the inception to self-destruction of infamous Soviet Union the book unveils many tragedies from the eyes of young, naive and idealistic heroine. Sashenka takes you on a life journey through the most depressing, though captivating time of Russian history. While listening to the book reader would truly experience that miserable existence under the iron boot of the Soviet cabal. Having firsthand knowledge of the subject I will attest, it is portrayed with finest accuracy. The writer reveals this dark period in all its malice. After the novel, you will understand what Russian people have endured for almost a century and ultimately still paying for. The readers voice illustrate the general mood and fear people lived under; the feeling lingers long time after you are finished listening. My only regret is that almost all of the names and places are butchered beyond recognition, unfortunately it includes the title. So don't try to flaunt your Russian pronunciation with any native speakers after the book. But you can certainly flaunt your intellectual understanding of that era.
This was an interesting book, but not until the 3rd section. I found it a little confusing as far as listening to a book goes because of all of the similar names. Maybe it would have been better to read the hard copy and would probably be better the 2nd time. Unfortunately, this story was very slow starting and I found myself bored at the beginning. I am very glad that I forced myself to finish it because the end is redeeming.
I have never written a review before but this book required it. It is a fascinating historical novel about Russia from the revolution to the 1970's. I have "read" a lot of books about Russia and this book fills a gap in Russian historical novels. The story line was a page turner (if you can do that on an IPod.) The narrator was fantastic and made me feel that the real people were there talking to me.
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I love good historical fiction, and despite some implausible plot twists, this was a really good novel about the Russian Revolution, Stalinism and the aftermath. Particularly illuminating was the whole thread about how obsessive the true believer Bolsheviks were.
But, and it's a big "but", the narrator's fake Russian accents were so bad and such a major distraction that I almost quit, several times. When just narrating, she was fine, but the accents were appallingly bad. Since we know they weren't speaking Russian-accented English, why not simply continue with her normal accent? It was particularly troublesome because it made the characters, when speaking, much less credible.
I would recommend this book, with that caveat.
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