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Born in South Africa, Gillian Slovo came with her family to Britain in 1964. She has written nine novels, one of which, Red Dust has been filmed with Hilary Swank and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Her first play, Guantanamo, played in London's West End and off-Broadway in New York.
Memoirist and novelist Slovo's (Red Dust) star is rising, and this novel will affirm her status as a keen observer of human nature and its agonizing contradictions. Leningraders in the era just after the revolution and during World War II, Irina and Natasha could not lead more different lives, even under the leveling pressures of the Soviet boot they shared. Irina goes as the cook on an ill-fated expedition to the Arctic, barely making it out alive; Natasha is the coddled daughter of a well-connected family eventually trapped in Stalinist paranoia. Their paths not only cross but also merge when extinction threatens them both. Slovo writes keenly of ideological ironies and their interplay and treats her characters with great sympathy. Libraries where Helen Dunmore's The Siege and Vassily Aksyonov's work attract patrons will want this fresh and intense exploration of the Russian paradoxes. [The author is the daughter of Joe Slovo, leader of the South African Communist party, and Ruth First, a journalist who was murdered in 1982.-Ed.]-Barbara Conaty, Library of Congress Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
'Gillian Slovo's Ice Road is the finest account you will read of Stalin's terrors and the unimaginable horror of the siege of Leningrad' John Humphrey, Mail on Sunday 'Magnificent...To tell the story is something; but Slovo understands from inside the characters' own heads' Guardian '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 ... Slovo achieves a depth of psychological realism through the minds of victim and assassin ... Enthralling and persuasive are Irina and Anya, the cleaner and the orphan ... along with Natasha, a Russian tragic heroine and the fine portrayal of Leonid Nikolaev ...' - Rachel Holmes, Times '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' Independent 'Without doubt one of the best offerings of the year, Ice Road is a solid work that awakes emotions. Slovo's characters are so well- defined and differentiated that you could be forgiven for forgetting that Ice Road is fiction.' Evening Herald (Ire)