Biographies & Memoirs

A Mountain of Crumbs

A Mountain of Crumbs

Elena Gorokhova grows up in 1960's Leningrad where she discovers that beauty and passion can be found in unexpected places in Soviet Russia.

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.

Chapter 1. Ivanovo

Chapter 2. My Mother’s Husbands

Chapter 3. Vranyo, the Pretending

Chapter 4. Dacha

Chapter 5. Lenin and Squirrels

Chapter 6. Theater

Chapter 7. Simple Past

Chapter 8. Mushrooms

Chapter 9. About Love

Chapter 10. Human Anatomy

Chapter 11. Dangers of Big Rivers

Chapter 12. A Lesson in Russian Classics

Chapter 13. A Tour of Leningrad

Chapter 14. Work

Chapter 15. White Night

Chapter 16. The Crimea

Chapter 17. Facilitator of Acquisition

Chapter 18. Waiting

Chapter 19. Wedding

Chapter 20. Farewell

Epilogue

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