A Mountain of Crumbs

By Elena Gorokhova
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9781439125670, 308pp.)

Publication Date: January 12, 2010

List Price: $26.00*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the January 2010 Indie Next List
“Elena Gorokhova's A Mountain of Crumbs offers a view of the locked-in nature of daily life in 1960s Leningrad, beginning even in nursery school. Gorokhova's precise language and her word photos are impressive. I loved this book.”
-- Carla Cohen, Politics & Prose Books &, Washington, DC


A Mountain of Crumbs is the moving story of a young Soviet girl's discovery of the hidden truths of adulthood and her country's profound political deception.

Elena, born with a desire to explore the world beyond her borders, 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's home is no longer the majestic Russia of literature or the tsars. Instead, it is a nation humiliated by its first faltering steps after World War II, putting up appearances for the sake of its regime and fighting to retain its pride.

In this deeply affecting memoir, Elena re-creates the world that both oppressed and inspired her. She recounts stories passed down to her about the horrors of the Bolshevik Revolution and probes the daily deprivations and small joys of her family's bunkerlike existence. Through Elena's captivating voice, we learn not only the personal story of Russia 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 to a new world.

About the Author
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. The bestselling author of "A Mountain of Crumbs" and "Russian Tattoo", she has a Doctorate in Language Education and currently lives in New Jersey. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times", "The Daily Telegraph", on BBC Radio, and in a number of literary magazines.
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