Book

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A Mountain of Crumbs is among J.M. Coetzee’s Top Reads of 2011.  I am speechless.

9 weeks on the Globe and Mail bestseller list in Canada in the spring of 2011.

A Mountain of Crumbs is among BookPage’s Top 10 Books of 2010.

On August 19, 2010, A Mountain of Crumbs was published in the U.K. by Windmill Books (division of Random House).   It is reviewed by the Daily Telegraph (read), the Guardian (read) and the Spectator (read). Marie Claire calls it “an exquisitely moving memoir,” where the “story of oppression and hope is described in distinctive poetical prose.”   Easy Living says the book is “a celebration of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity and oppression.”   It is a “gently delightful memoir,” according to the Times of London.

A Mountain of Crumbs is selected “Book of the Week” by BBC Radio 4 and was read by Sian Thomas from August 23 to August 27, 2010.

A Mountain of Crumbs is an Indie Next List selection for January, 2010.

A Mountain of Crumbs is among 10 Books to Watch For in February, 2010, in O:The Oprah Magazine.

A Mountain of Crumbs is among 10 best Mother’s Day books of 2010 in May, 2010, in The Christian Science Monitor (read)

A Mountain of Crumbs is in The Daily Beast, in celebration of Mother’s Day. (read)

A Mountain of Crumbs is a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice for the week of February 14, 2010.  (read)

A Mountain of Crumbs is the story of a young Soviet girl’s discovery of the hidden truths of adulthood and her country’s profound, brazen lies.  The narrator recreates the world that both oppressed and inspired her.  She recounts stories passed down to her about the horrors of Stalin’s terror and the Great Patriotic War and probes the daily deprivations and small joys of her family’s life in Leningrad.

Elena, like most around her, routinely slices her soul in half – one for herself, the other for the outside world.  Controlled by the state the same way she is controlled by her mother, she learns early to play the national game of vranyo, or pretending.  “They pretend to pay us,” says her older sister, an actress, summing up Soviet life, “and we pretend to work.”  But when her father falls ill, pretending fails to hold them together, and his death leads to the family’s gradual unraveling.  In search of another life, Elena learns English and finds escape in books and theatre.   But what she is really trying to escape is her mother, as authoritarian, sheltering, and difficult to leave as her Motherland.  Their suffocating nurture exacts a price, and when Elena upsets the expected order, she becomes an outcast.  Her marriage to an American causes a scandal, public and private.  Through the narrator’s captivating voice, we learn not only the story of Russian life 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 into a new world.

Read an excerpt.

In 2010/2011 A Mountain of Crumbs will also be published by:

Windmill Books/Random House (UK)

DTV (Germany)

Piemme Publishing Group (Italy)