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Publisher's Summary

"I went to get the letters for our friends, and couldn't help but feel a little envious, I didn't expect anything for myself. And suddenly-there was my name, and, as if it was alive, your handwriting."

In 1946, after five years as a prisoner - first as a Soviet POW in Nazi concentration camps, then as a deportee (falsely accused of treason) in the Arctic Gulag - 29-year-old Lev Mishchenko unexpectedly received a letter from Sveta, the sweetheart he had hardly dared hope was still alive. Amazingly, over the next eight years, the lovers managed to exchange more than 1,500 messages and even to smuggle Sveta herself into the camp for secret meetings. Their recently discovered correspondence is the only known real-time record of life in Stalin's Gulag, unmediated and uncensored.

Orlando Figes, author of Natasha's Dance, draws on Lev and Sveta's letters as well as KGB archives and recent interviews to brilliantly reconstruct the broader world in which their story unfolded. With the powerful narrative drive of a novel, Just Send Me Word reveals a passion and endurance that triumphed over the tragic forces of history.

©2012 Orlando Figes (P)2012 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"[Figes] fine narrative pacing enhances this moving, memorable story." (Publishers Weekly)

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  • Daryl
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 07-31-12

Just send Me Word

Would you listen to Just Send Me Word again? Why?

Absolutel! This book not only details the love story of Lev and Sveta but also deals with some of the political aspects of Russia that I was not familiar with. It also was quite obviously not exclusively a love storyl but a stoy of resilliance, trust, and a powerful network of friends and family, ordinary people.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Lev and Sveta. Keeping their love alive when it obviously presented such risk, particularly for Sveta. Also, all of the friends and family who helped along the way.

Have you listened to any of James Langton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I haven't listened to any of his other books, but perhaps I will listen to one that takes place in England. It took some geting used to, hearing Russian language and streets and events from an Englishman...

Any additional comments?

An incredibly important book detailing the history of Russia, and highlighting the story of two lovers who beat the odds.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Not enough information

Would you consider the audio edition of Just Send Me Word to be better than the print version?

Can't compare, but the audio edition was very good.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The emotional relationship between the protagonists was most interesting, but it was not enough. It was unrealistic to me that there was no comment (in these uncensored letters) about Stalin, the repressions, politics. That would have been most interesting.