November 01, 2014

Memoirs and History

Memoirs and History

Elena Gorokhova (Simon and Schuster, $26, Jan. 2015)

This new memoir more or less picks up where Gorokhova’s bestselling first memoir, A Mountain of Crumbs, left off, with her leaving the Soviet Union in 1980 to enter into an “open” marriage with an American man she did not love.

“Why are there no smells?” in America, she wonders early on, recalling the odors of sour milk and dusky sweat that pervaded her homeland. This is the least of her worries, of course, as she navigates all the difficulties of joining a new culture, from working as a waitress (with no idea what dressing “on the side” means) to teaching English, from divorcing her difficult first husband, to raising a child in a land she barely understands.

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