Life is always changing, flowing like sand through the fingers.
A peaceful summer morning in Moscow is invaded by a column of tanks rumbling down a quiet tree-lined street. People are protesting in the streets, independent news outlets are being silenced, and Mikhail Gorbachev is declared unfit to run the country. His whereabouts are unknown.
It is August 19, 1991, and the communist hardliners are attempting a coup with plans of eliminating Mikhail Gorbachev and turning back his democratic reforms.
"What will happen if they win?" asks Marina, the teenage protagonist.
"It will be Stalin's regime all over again."
A chilling prediction indeed.
Moscow Dreams is both a coming of age novel and historical fiction, with changes in the former USSR paralleling changes in the lives of the young protagonists.
After the coup, Marina and her friends are thrust into drastic social, political, and economic changes. Security is replaced by questions and doubts, and the only thing that is constant is the feeling of uncertainty and the impermanence of life.
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Be Lifted to Moscow:1991 as seen by teenage Marina
The coming of age story set in a chaotic time, with the internal world and external worlds of Marina providing a deep depth of field.
The feeling of Being There.
He let the characters color his words without funny-voices or accents getting in the way.
her grandmother, but I doubt that she'd talk to an American, like me. *smile*
This was such a transporting novel, that I could not do other tasks while listening. I was along for a great ride.
- Adam B Crafter "I know a few things"
Life Change, Inside and Out, Faithfully Delivered
Without a question, my favorite character is Marina. This a story is about her. She is a highly intelligent, ambitious Foreteen years old girl, who lives in Moscow. She is driven to learn English and prepare for her college exams, which are two years away, as a way of shaping her future. Her dream is to travel and see the world.
I have read the story months ago and enjoyed it tremendously, yet listening to the narrator, Gary Roelofs, deliver the fine nuances of the writing is a whole different experience. He truly breathes life into the dialog, taking on different voices and accents with great ease, and imbuing the story with feeling.
The author, Julia Gousseva, sweeps us away into a different time and place, unfamiliar to most of us. She brings us into Marina's home, allows us to take snapshots of her family, feel the change of seasons going into a cold Russian winter, and hear her father's stories as he comes back home from his travels. We smell the aroma of Russian foods, such as modlovnik, as they are prepared by her Babushka (grandmother.)
The descriptions are utterly honest, drawn faithfully and in precise, authentic detail, all of which builds our trust in the writing. Through the observant eyes of this sharp-minded girl, we become witnesses to an increasingly turbulent time of change: the Perestroika period, which restructured the Soviet political and economic system, and caused of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, during 1991-1992.
I love the double twisted yarn where "life around Marina was changing, and she was changing too." How would she cope with these changes, in herself and in her country, which are beyond her anything she has imagined before?
What a fascinating listen! Five stars.