"Ice Road" by Gillian Slovo. [review - radio script]
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"Ice road" is a novel of nineteenth century proportions by prolific British author Gillian Slovo. With its broad canvas of Russian history and large cast of characters, led by a young woman called Natasha, it consciously harks back to Tolstoy’s "War and Peace". The story begins with a cleaner called Irina Davydovna Arbatova, a pragmatic worker born at the beginning of the twentieth century, who by various chance encounters becomes involved in the family of Boris Aleksandrovic Ivanov, a party official, one of the new soviet ruling class. The setting is Leningrad, and the year is 1934.