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Ice Road Paperback – 24 Feb 2005

4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Virago; New Ed edition (24 Feb. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844080595
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844080595
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 3.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 475,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

I grew to love Slovo's powerful narrator, the redoubtable cleaning lady Irina Davydovna . . . Slovo has produced a novel which is demanding, brave and bold . . . Many writers have used the brutal effects of the Seige of Leningrad to explore courage, betrayal and survival, but Slovo adds something important.'- Charlie Lee-Potter, Observer ('This is a novel that explores the motivation and consequences of political events on ordinary lives . . . Ice Road brilliantly depicts, from the emotional inside, the most politically disastrous assassination in Russian history, the murder of Kirov . . .)

#NAME? ('This is a beautifully composed, expertly structured and wonderfully evocative masterpiece - Gillian Slovo's greatest achievement to date')

Daily Mail ('Slovo describes the death of an ideal with a passion that makes her book moving and memorable')

Sunday Telegraph ('Rings absolutely true. a moving and perceptive epic of utopia in darkness')

Book Description

Shortlisted for The Orange Prize and highly praised on hardback publication. Set in Lenigrad of the 1930s, ICE ROAD is a compelling and passionate story about ordinary people - Boris, Natasha, Irina - caught up in history

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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