A Train to Moscow: A Novel Paperback Book

A Train to Moscow: A Novel Paperback Book



A Train to Moscow: A Novel Paperback – March 1, 2022 by Elena Gorokhova



A Train to Moscow: A Novel

In post–World War II Russia, a girl must reconcile a tragic past with her hope for the future in this powerful and poignant novel about family secrets, passion and loss, perseverance and ambition.

In a small, provincial town behind the Iron Curtain, Sasha lives in a house full of secrets, one of which is her own dream of becoming an actress. When she leaves for Moscow to audition for drama school, she defies her mother and grandparents and abandons her first love, Andrei.

Before she leaves, Sasha discovers the hidden war journal of her uncle Kolya, an artist still missing in action years after the war has ended. His pages expose the official lies and the forbidden truth of Stalin’s brutality. Kolya’s revelations and his tragic love story guide Sasha through drama school and cement her determination to live a thousand lives onstage. After graduation, she begins acting in Leningrad, where Andrei, now a Communist Party apparatchik, becomes a censor of her work. As a past secret comes to light, Sasha’s ambitions converge with Andrei’s duties, and Sasha must decide if her dreams are truly worth the necessary sacrifice and if, as her grandmother likes to say, all will indeed be well.


“Spellbinding, poignant, breathtaking, Elena Gorokhova’s first novel explores the meaning of truth, art, and the cost of secrets under the Soviet regime. Sasha’s story of pursuing her dreams no matter the cost will stay in your heart long after reading.” ―Lara Prescott, New York Times bestselling author of The Secrets We Kept

“Elena Gorokhova’s debut novel, A Train to Moscow, is a taut, high-wire masterpiece. Rebellious aspiring actress Sasha comes of age in the pressure-cooker world of the postwar Soviet Union, battling oppressive Party politics, an enigmatic lover turned political censor, and the buried secrets of her own family, which threaten to upset the fragile balance of survival. An unforgettable portrait of artistic struggle, strangled love, and undying hope―I couldn’t put it down!” ―Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network

“Through the eyes of young Sasha, an instinctive rebel against the stifling conformity imposed by state and family, we are given an intimate and unforgettable picture of Russian society in the decades after 1945. Sasha’s story crackles with energy; we come away with a new understanding of why, to her generation, the arts offered the only road to freedom.” ―J. M. Coetzee, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature and author of The Death of Jesus

“With skill and eloquence, Elena Gorokhova lays bare the complexities of growing up in post-WWII Russia in this powerful story of tangled passions and deep-rooted loyalties. A Train to Moscow is a superb and memorable debut.” ―Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Nature of Fragile Things

“Elena Gorokhova’s A Train to Moscow is a marvelously complex love story set against the harsh realities of Soviet life in the 1950s and 1960s. Gorokhova knows that life intimately―the settings are filled with details that will ring absolutely true to anyone who spent time on the cold side of the Iron Curtain―and she knows, just as well, the intricacies of the human heart. A cast of memorable characters, a perfectly drawn background, fascinating historical scenes―all of it in service of a story that will hold the reader from first page to last. This is a remarkable achievement, not only for a first-time novelist but for any novelist. I truly enjoyed it.” ―Roland Merullo, author of A Russian Requiem and From These Broken Streets

About the Author

Elena Gorokhova was born and raised in Leningrad, now Saint Petersburg, Russia. After graduating from Leningrad University, she moved to the United States, carrying one suitcase with twenty kilograms of what used to be her life. Elena is the author of two memoirs: A Mountain of Crumbs and Russian Tattoo. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Daily Beast, New Jersey Monthly, and the Daily Telegraph, as well as on NPR and BBC Radio and in a number of literary magazines. A Train to Moscow is Elena’s first novel. She lives and teaches in New Jersey. For more information, visit www.elenagorokhova.com.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Lake Union Publishing (March 1, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 315 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1542033861
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1542033862
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 11 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 1 x 8.25 inches