Svetlana Grobman : The Education of a Traitor: A Memoir of Growing Up in Cold War Russia

The Education of a Traitor: A Memoir of Growing Up in Cold War Russia

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Biographies & Memoirs, Humor

For Readers Of

James Joyce, Frank McCourt, Elena Gorokhova, Anton Chekhov

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Print Length

307 p.




Musings Publishing

Publication Date

March 2015



About the Book    About the Author

Svetlana (Sveta) Grobman grew up in a communal apartment in Moscow, Russia, during the Cold War with her mother, father and younger sister. From a very young age, she found herself living in two contradictory worlds: the private world of a Jewish family struggling to live a decent life in a society rife with shortages and anti-Semitism; and the public world of an oppressive totalitarian regime that brainwashed its citizen into believing that the Soviet Union was the best country in the world.

Despite being constantly bullied and insulted by playmates, neighbors, and teachers, Sveta was a dreamer. In the confinement of her cramped apartment, with a book in her hands, she dreamt about doing something significant for her country to earn its love and respect. Yet as Sveta matured and learned about the persecution of her family and the tragic deaths of her Ukrainian relatives during WWII, she realized that the world around her was built on lies and corruption, and that she needed to be strong just to survive.

Composed of a series of poignant and sometimes humorous stories, The Education of a Traitor is a luminous memoir that not only describes the experience of one Jewish child coming of age in Russia at the height of the Cold War, but also helps explain why millions of people chose to leave the Soviet Union when the Iron Curtain finally fell.

Editorial Reviews

"This book may be read on several levels: either as a coming-of-age autobiography, or as a wider-ranging portrait of personal survival and growth. ... A hard-hitting and involving story that delivers vignettes of change and survival using a powerful voice and a personal perspective that's hard to put down." --Midwest Book Review

"Each chapter functions as a stand-alone tale, depicting not only a moment in Grobman's childhood, but also an aspect of Soviet life. ... An intimate look at a young woman's struggle to find her own truth in a repressive society." --Kirkus Reviews

"This story turned my stomach, made me laugh out loud, and broke my heart, sometimes all in the same chapter. The Education of a Traitor is akin to a Russian Anne Frank told by a child with the charisma of Calvin and Hobbes. Grobman beautifully captures the childhood psyche in this touching story of family, the uncertainties of youth, and life in a forgotten, cloistered society." --Readers' Favorite

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