Read advance reader review of Iron Curtain by Vesna Goldsworthy

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Iron Curtain

A Love Story

by Vesna Goldsworthy

Iron Curtain by Vesna Goldsworthy X
Iron Curtain by Vesna Goldsworthy
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  • Published Feb 2023
    336 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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There are currently 24 member reviews
for Iron Curtain
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  • Amber H. (Asheville, NC)
    Loved this book!
    I loved this book - right from the start I was drawn into Milena and her story. The beginning is a bit dark, but that is relevant context for the rest of the story. I felt so many emotions reading Iron Curtain - it is sad, funny, disturbing, exciting, confusing, the list goes on. The pace moves quickly and this book is beautifully written. Highly recommend!
  • Becky H. (Manassas, VA)
    An intriguing and timely novel
    IRON CURTAIN is a delight to read. It has humor, pathos, tension, fear, love, loyalty, tragedy, responsibility, faithfulness and patriotism. Milena and Jason, as well as all the supporting characters, are well drawn, and accurate. The descriptions of the two countries reflect the notions of how each country sees itself and the other. The book covers the differences between perception and reality, especially as it relates to how communist countries view the west and vice versa.
    My daughter lived for several years in a former Soviet Republic. I completely understand Milena's decisions. The notion of freedom has varying degrees of reality: freedom from want, from decision making, to choose, to make mistakes, and others. Where and what is "home" is also a point that is covered well by this book.
    One of my favorite characters was Clarissa. She had depths of character that slowly emerged as the book progressed.
    IRON CURTAIN would make a great book for discussion groups. I highly recommend it, even with its slow start.
    5 of 5 stars
  • Irene H. (Saugerties, NY)
    Iron Curtain a love story; Vesna Goldsworthy
    The spate of stories in which girl meets boy, girl becomes pregnant; girl runs away with boy and all live happily ever after has departed along with their attendant holiday symbols. If you're seeking a wonderfully creative twist on this trope, Iron Curtain, a love story, is just the book for you. With her tongue firmly in her cheek, the author speaks to us in the person of Milena Urbanska, the cherished daughter of a "hero of the Bolshevik Revolution." By the 1980's, her father is a highly placed official in one of the satellite states behind the Iron Curtain living in a mansion appropriated from the time of the Czar and peopled by servants and a wife interested in Western fashion, jewelry, and Russian Vodka. The author, Vesna Goldsworthy, employs enough irony, satire, and black humor in filling out her characters to give book clubs several months of analysis and discussion. Unlike dystopian plot twists which leave the reader deeply sad in comparing the ideals of the Revolution and the actuality of its lived daily events, Goldsworthy uses Milena's voice to both accept the constraints of her society while also mocking the gap between what could have been, and what is, in the reality of the Cold War. The romantic plot twist which brings a soviet princess out of her country to live in the alleged land of "milk and honey" with Jason, her English/Irish Marxist poet, takes Milena along the yellow brick road to a place of her own crafting where she shapes the life she wants using her own creativity and grit.
  • Gunta Krasts Voutyras
    The Pride and Strength of a Young Woman.
    This is a spine chilling tome. Not so much the description of the Communist Regime. Their snooping into private lives, their control of everyone and the soul destroying of citizens who do not walk the line. The lack of any kind of freedom for any citizens. The lack of goods and food. Lack of housing. Horrible living conditions.

    It is the story of Milena Urbanska. Her personal strength, her very controlled emotions, Her ability to make the decision to leave, defect, her country because of a man she loves. Not a political belief. The inner strength that allows her to go through an abortion totally alone. The performance of this deed is not known to the father. In many ways he is child like. Of course Milena realizes this. Yet she loves him.

    Her father is a top man in the Communist Party and there is nothing he does not know about his people, in particular about his daughter. It is within his power to assist her or block her. Milena remains true to herself. She puts all herself into marriage of an Englishman, lives in London and literally gives up all she knows of her culture, abandons her parents and works very hard to support the two of them with not too much understanding or appreciation from her husband. When I got to the end of the book my esteem, compassion, admiration, as well as thoughts of needing more women like Milena in order to create a better world was upmost in my thoughts.
  • Karen S. (Orlando, FL)
    Open the Iron Curtain
    Vesna Goldsworthy presents a beautiful story of a young woman's experience of love, but more importantly her discovery of resilience and strength. This historical fiction offers a peek behind the iron curtain of 1980s Russia through the eyes of a socialite named Milena, who decides to follow her heart and leave her privileged life. The pace felt a bit slow at the beginning but quickly picks up as the story unfolds. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading it again. I highly recommend Iron Curtain!
  • Patricia G. (Washington, DC)
    An authentic narrative voice
    What struck me most about "Iron Curtain", Vesna Goldworthy's newest novel, is how authentic the narrative voice sounded. Written in the first person of Milena, the daughter of a powerful official in a Soviet-satellite country, the book describes her two-part story—her life previous to meeting and falling in love with Jason, a struggling British poet visiting Milena's country as part of an international poetry showcase—and afterwards. I was intrigued throughout the book at Milena's preternatural steely calm describing her privileged, although highly controlled life and family, and the completely opposite situation she then finds herself in with Jason in a new and very foreign country. In spite of this tone, the reader can really feel Milena as a sympathetic and fully formed person; this is no dry documentary of Soviet-style life and the evils of the west. Goldworthy is a talented writer, and packed a lot of descriptive narrative into a slightly offbeat, opposites-attract-and-it-doesn't-work-out love story. I've already purchased one of her previous novels, because I really enjoy discovering good novelists that are "new to me".
  • Judy W. (Tucker, GA)
    Iron Curtain
    A refreshingly different story of life behind the Iron Curtain. The book is so interesting to me because it is from the standpoint of a privileged, wealthy young woman growing up behind the Iron Curtain. It is curious that the author never reveals the exact country, which is for the reader to decide. Vesna Goldsworthy, the author, herself was raised in such a country. (although Serbia, as part of Yugoslavia, was quite a different "communist" country than the USSR). The plot, the descriptions of both countries is so vivid. We, as Westerns, often forget how we are perceive. Reading about the way Milena and Jason lived in London painted a very different picture than the way Milena had assumed life would be in the West. The book is so well written--we wordsmiths love to see English so well presented! I would highly recommend Iron Curtain for individuals or book club discussions---an O'Henry conclusion will amaze the reader.

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