By Elena Gorokhova

Elena Gorokhova's A Mountain of Crumbs is the relocating tale of a Soviet lady who discovers the truths adults are hiding from her and the lies her fatherland lives by means of. Elena's kingdom isn't any longer the majestic Russia of literature or the tsars, yet a kingdom suffering to keep its strength and its satisfaction. Born with a wish to discover the realm past her borders, Elena unearths her ardour within the complexity of the English language--but within the Soviet Union of the Sixties this type of ardour verges at the subversive. Elena is managed through the kingdom an identical manner she is managed by way of her mom, a reflect photograph of her motherland: overbearing, protecting, tricky to depart. within the conflict among a strong-willed daughter and her authoritarian mom, the daughter, finally, needs to become independent from and go away with a purpose to survive.

Through Elena's pleasing voice, we examine not just the tales of Russian relations existence within the moment 1/2 the 20th century, but additionally the tale of 1 rebellious citizen whose interest and backbone eventually delivery her to a brand new global. it truly is an elegy to the misplaced state of formative years, the place those that go away can by no means go back.

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SULTAN: CADI: What do you say about this, Cadi? I say that this is correct from the historical point of view but . . SULTAN: But what? CADI: Then, O illustrious Sultan, you would like to solve your problem by this method? SULTAN: And VIZIER: why not? Truly, why not? There is nothing easier than this, especially in this matter of ours. It is sufficient for us to announce publicly that Our Majesty the Sultan has been legally manumitted, that he was manumitted by the late Sultan before his death, and that the documents and proofs are recorded and kept with the Chief Cadi—and death to anyone who dares deny it!

WINE MERCHANT: SHOEMAKER: WINE MERCHANT: SHOEMAKER: It’s not necessary for him to talk in your shop. What would he do then? If I were in your place I’d know how to employ him. How? Tell me. WINE MERCHANT: I’d sit him down in front of the door of the shop in a com- fortable chair, I’d put a new pair of shoes on his feet and a placard above his head reading: “Sultan Shoes Sold Here,” and the next day you’d see how the people of the city would flock to your shop and demand your wares. SHOEMAKER: What a great idea!

What this woman is saying is mere sophistry. SULTAN: It’s your condition that’s sophistry. Selling is selling—that’s self- evident. As for the rest, it is binding on no one. CADI: Yes, Your Majesty. However, this woman took part in the auction being aware of the nature of it and knowing full well the whys and wherefores of it; for her to behave after that in this way is nothing but trickery, deceit, and double-dealing. SULTAN: If you now want to give her a lesson in morals, that’s your affair. As for the law, it no longer has a leg to stand on and you should desist from talking in its name.

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