Ice Road: A Novel
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"A gripping story of courage, disillusionment, survival, and the triumph of the human spirit."―Sarah Durant, author of The Birth of Venus
Loyalties, beliefs, love, family ties: all are tested to the limit in one of the most devastating moments of human history: the siege of Leningrad during World War II. Boris Aleksandrovich, a well-meaning bureaucrat, thinks he can negotiate between idealism and politics. His daughter, Natasha, learns otherwise when, as a young woman in love, she is almost crushed by her father's compromises. Watching all this unfold is Irina. Wise, ironic, marvelous Irina, whom Boris had persuaded to go on an ill-fated voyage to the Arctic Circle, where she barely survived. When she arrives back in Leningrad, he feels honor bound to find her a position within his family circle. Irina comes to understand how love for another may, in the end, be more powerful and more profound than blind loyalty to an idea. Exciting and heroic, peopled with wonderfully complex characters, Ice Road is a masterpiece. A finalist for the Orange Prize.
seemed to have been stained different shades of matching grey. Looking about me, I could see my own faltering steps mirrored by my compatriots’. A threadbare procession we must have made, muffled human beings, scarves wound around our heads, fragile human remnants plagued by hunger. We shuffled on past worker guards with their barricades made from rusty springs, bits of bedsteads, barbed wire, and anything sharp that came to hand, and, standing close, a pile of Molotov cocktails, for we have
was so great. But I’m not really listening any more, not just because the latest advances, especially when it comes to things that can blow me up, never have impressed me but also because I’m thinking. What am I thinking? When it dawns on me what it is, it surprises me. I’m thinking about Anya. Now, I grant you, this itself is not unusual. She’s kept me on my toes, that one, over the years. What’s different, though, is the way I am thinking about her now. I am thinking of her with fondness.
lost, some force acted as her guide. Some instinct, if not for her own, then at least for Katya’s preservation, prompted her to look up, which is when she notices a set of chimneys that, even smothered as they are by snow, look oddly spaced and different from all those around them, and she remembers remarking on this fact when recently with Irina. Which means: there, that one over there. That is Ira’s building. She has arrived. She strains forward. Careful now. She can’t afford a slip. She
that, by standing at the gate, he can stop her. As if! If she wants to go, she will. If not now, then later. He can’t be with her all the time. She knows other things as well. She knows that he stands there every morning, that he wishes she’d turn back and look at him. She won’t: on the one occasion when she had, he’d smiled so gratefully it had made her want to kick him, and he’d waved as well, so she’d had no choice but to wave back. Never again. When she goes, she goes: there is no waving
presence (he never notices anything unless it’s shoved right in his face). Looking at it, she sees how good it is. As good as hers? She looks more closely. Genya used colour. She’d thought about doing that but had opted for pencil. Now, seeing the way his blues and greens and whites give his picture an Arctic hue, she wonders whether she’d made the right decision. And there’s more. His coastline is curved like the real coast and not a set of straight lines as neatness had dictated hers should be.