- 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)
Ice Road Paperback – 24 Feb 2005
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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')
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 historySee all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
'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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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... Read morePublished on 28 Dec. 2013 by Wildgarlic
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... Read morePublished on 24 Nov. 2010 by F. Ledwith
I was really looking forward to this book, also based on the positive reviews, but found it quite tough going. Read morePublished on 27 July 2007 by A. Radeck