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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring book
I have just finished reading Ice Road, and it still fills my head and heart. Slovo writes with compassion of a period in Russian history which brought about so much human suffering. THis is a book that reveals humanity at its worst and at its best, yet Slovo never judges. She lets her characters speak for themselves. Wonderful.
Published on 7 July 2006 by Sian Mason

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I just couldn't get into this book
Miss slovos research was fantastic. You just felt the heartache in all these characters in this terrible situation of blockaded Leningrad. But I felt it didn't flow for me. There was too many stops and starts and characters left unexplored. Eg the child who was orphaned. What was that about and what happened to her. We actually never found out what happened a lot of them...
Published on 7 Nov 2011 by Y Allen


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring book, 7 July 2006
This review is from: Ice Road (Paperback)
I have just finished reading Ice Road, and it still fills my head and heart. Slovo writes with compassion of a period in Russian history which brought about so much human suffering. THis is a book that reveals humanity at its worst and at its best, yet Slovo never judges. She lets her characters speak for themselves. Wonderful.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ice Road, 23 May 2004
By 
Vanessa Depré (Brussels, Belgium) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ice Road (Hardcover)
This was a book that I could just not put down, and when I finished I wanted to start all over again... but I had to go to work. Gillian Slovo's book is a realistic novel about true events in Russia's history and whoever you are, it will make you shed tears. I didn't want to read it at first because I thought it was going to be a cliché romantic drama with shooting and death. Thankfully my friend convinced me to go ahead and after page two I saw just how wrong I really was. I won't go into the story line as I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone. However trust me when I say this is a book you just have to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I just couldn't get into this book, 7 Nov 2011
By 
Y Allen "Vonnie" (N ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ice Road (Hardcover)
Miss slovos research was fantastic. You just felt the heartache in all these characters in this terrible situation of blockaded Leningrad. But I felt it didn't flow for me. There was too many stops and starts and characters left unexplored. Eg the child who was orphaned. What was that about and what happened to her. We actually never found out what happened a lot of them. Half way through I was about to put it down but then it picked up in second half. Maybe I'm missing something but I feel the characters were not explored enough and the whole thing didn't connect. If you want to read a good story about Leningrad in ww2 please read one of my favourite novels 'the bronze horseman'
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why Ice Road should win the Orange Prize, 23 May 2004
By 
V. ROWLAND "Valerie Rowland" (Guernsey, Channel Islands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ice Road (Hardcover)
ICE ROAD
by
Gillian Slovo
A review by Valerie Rowland
Slovo brings scholarship and accomplished writing to this powerful tale of revolution, political idealism and disillusionment. Slovo's ice, snow and blizzards whirl through the pages, carrying the drama along; a counterpoint to the suffering of ordinary people caught up in the tragedy of war, betrayal and privation.
There is an obvious connection between Slovo's upbringing in South Africa, the daughter of anti-apartheid campaigners and her bold first attempt at a historical novel set in Stalinist Russia, a comparable period in history in which ordinary people struggled to survive repression and revolution. The child Gillian's observation of life around her informs the narrative of Ice Road. Left alone to be «the responsible one» of her siblings Gillian knew the African servants as individuals and personalities. She understood what anyone who has worked as a domestic knows; that the detritus of the household is the key to its characters. To clean a bedroom is to know the intimate secrets of its occupants. Irina, the central character of Ice Road is a cleaner, who observes people and events with a dispassionate eye.
The «I» of Irina and the «I» echoed in the title are the «eyes» of an observant child and the key to the warmth of humanity in this book. Irina comes to learn that there are terrible consequences when people are sacrificed on the altar of idealism.
Ice Road is a celebration of the female spirit finding a path through the blizzards of history. It deserves the Orange Prize.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love, war and death in a tumultuous times, 3 Mar 2011
This review is from: Ice Road (Paperback)
I first tried to read this book almost two years ago - for some reason I couldn't get into it. However, I decided not to abandon it completely as I am quite a fan of Gillian Slovo and Ties of Blood is one of my favourite books. So, earlier this week I picked it off the shelf and sat down, determined to at least reach page 100 before making a decision to continue or not. I finished it in three days.

'The Ice Road' is set in Leningrad in 1933 - 1941. From the blurb on the back of the book we learn that the central character is Irina, a cleaner. Irina's credentials as a central character are that, invisible as she might be, working in the houses of the elite, she sees and hears everything. Irina is down to earth and practical - the educated, she observes, are forever getting themselves into an incomprehensible mess.

Historically speaking the late 1930s were a time of great turmoil in Russia. Gillian Slovo takes us through a number of important events: the sinking of the ice trapped scientific research vessel, the Chelyuskin; the shooting of Kirov and the subsequent purge of suspected dissidents and finally war, and the siege of Leningrad. The ice road of the title is the road that was built across the ice to free the besieged citizens.

Irina's is not the only voice - as a cleaner she 'mixes' in the highest circles and so we have the voices of Boris, a privileged member of the Soviet elite, Natasha, his daughter and Anton, an academic. All are tested in the toughest of times.

I found it to be an ambitious book and it took some time for me to really get into it - probably about half way through. Which is a lot of scene setting. The second half, however, when life gets difficult, was more compelling. I'm glad that I read it but I didn't feel that it was anywhere near as good as Ties of Blood
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece, 24 Nov 2010
By 
F. Ledwith "ideas enthusiast" (Isle of Bute, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ice Road (Paperback)
THis book is certainly within the domain of being a masterpiece. I cannot add much to the other 5 star reviews, which are informative and perceptive and give a good account of the worth of the book. The voice of the cleaning woman is well captured, both in the language and the vision of the world. The book is enormously informative about the place of the people of Leningrad in the paranoid world of Stalin and shows well how hard it is for people of goodwill (with all their flaws) to survive in the mad world of a totalitarian regime.

I knew quite a bit about Leningrad before I read the book but now I understand a great deal more: it makes me want to go visit the city which has so much depth of history in it. I know it is now called St Peterburg but to me I think it will always be Leningrad, particularly after reading this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Memorable., 28 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Ice Road (Paperback)
Although it is some time since I read this book, there are images which have stayed with me. I will definitely be reading more of her books and hope they are as enjoyable as this one was.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ice Road of Russion Revolution and its aftermath, 28 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Ice Road (Paperback)
I lent my last copy of the Ice road to a relative in S Africa recommending it as the best S African writer I had read. Since buying this copy I nstill think it is the best I have read on the seige of Lenningrad. She is perceptive of the characters and the impact the country and the seige has upon them. You feel the grey and white of the winter and its hardships the description of the ship the Chelyuskin trapped in the ice and the initiative of those on board to survive compared with the situation of people in Lenningrad who are ground down but accepting of the work ethic and the need to obey the state or risk death by Stalin's purges. Slovo captures the time and the contrast of the euphoria of the revolution with the reality its undermining. A brilliant book that has you captured in its time.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Writing, 27 July 2004
This review is from: Ice Road (Hardcover)
Gillian Slovo is consitently compelling - her autobiographical work Every Secret Thing remains one of my all-time favourite books. This is assured, sweeping and interesting (and also a change from her African books) - only one thing jarred a little, which is the eloquence of the narrator who describes herself as barely literate and uneducated which doesn't quite square with such fluid first-person prose.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little dissapointed, 27 July 2007
By 
A. Radeck (Germany) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ice Road (Paperback)
I was really looking forward to this book, also based on the positive reviews, but found it quite tough going. The story is definitely an interesting and compelling one, but it just didn't keep me interested. I don't like to give up too soon, so kept trying, but all in all I put it aside in favour of another new book about 5 times. It is definitely well written and researched, but feels more like a biography than a novel.
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Ice Road
Ice Road by Gillian Slovo (Paperback - 24 Feb 2005)
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