Monday, June 1, 2015

G605 Book Review of Hotel Moscow by Talia Carner

Name of Book: Hotel Moscow

Author: Talia Carner

ISBN: 978-0-06-238859-9

Publisher: William Morrow

Type of book: Russia, Boris Yeltsin, 1993, Duma, Moscow, treasures, anti-Judaism, pride, character flaw, sacrifices, women's rights and issues, mistrust, kindness, wariness, drudgery, lack of resources, control, conspiracies

Year it was published: 2015

Summary:

From the author of Jerusalem Maiden comes a mesmerizing, thought-provoking novel that tells the riveting story of an American woman--the daughter of Holocaust survivors--who travels to Russia shortly after the fall of communism, and finds herself embroiled in a perilous mafia conspiracy that could irrevocably destroy her life.

Brooke Fielding, a thirty-eight year old New York investment manager and daughter of Jewish Holocaust survivors, finds her life suddenly upended in late September 1993 when her job is unexpectedly put in jeopardy. Brooke accepts an invitation to join a friend on a mission to Moscow to teach entrepreneurial skills to Russian business women, which will also give her a chance to gain expertise in the new, vast emerging Russian market. Though excited by the opportunity to save her job and be one of the first Americans to visit Russia after the fall of communism, she also wonders what awaits her in the country that persecuted her mother just a generation ago.

Inspired by the women she meets, Brooke becomes committed to helping them investigate the crime that threatens their businesses. But as the uprising of the Russian parliament against President Boris Yeltsin turns Moscow into a volatile war zone, Brooke will find that her involvement comes at a high cost. For in a city where "capitalism" is still a dirty word, where neighbors spy on neighbors and the new economy is in the hands of a few dangerous men, nothing Brooke does goes unnoticed--and a mistake in her past may now compromise her future.

A moving, poignant, and rich novel, Hotel Moscow is an eye-opening portrait of post-communist Russia and a profound exploration of faith, family, and heritage.

Characters:

The main characters include Brooke Fielding, previously Bertha Feldman who is thirty eight years of age, a second generation descendant of Holocaust survivors who has her own secrets from her family and is best described as intelligent, brave, and someone who tries to transcend or to help Russian people create positive impressions of the Jews. There is also Svetlana who is a talented linguist and a young woman who is fierce and protective of her only daughter and is also very resourceful, although she does tend to be judgmental of Jews and sees Judaism as something shameful rather than something to be proud of. She also wants to do a good job and impress Americans. Olga is an older woman who feels guilty for a lot of things and tries to make up for the misdeeds of the past. She is a fighter, optimistic and is willing to risk her life for the right cause. While the men also played a role in the story, they weren't as drawn out as the women.

Theme:

Life opens unexpected paths up

Plot:

The story is written in third person narrative from Brooke's, Svetlana's and Olga's points of views, although the other character, named Jenny, also makes an appearance, and is told in seven parts, each part lasting a day in Moscow Russia. Considering the situation that is going on in Russia, I would highly recommend for people to read so they can better understand where Russians came from and where they are going. What was cool was the inclusion of my name, as well as my birthday (October 5th,) I have to say that I couldn't really understand or follow the political aspects of the story, and didn't really understand Boris Yeltsin's choices and why they were made. What I did understand was the culture and where the lifelong lessons  of mistrust outside the immediate family came from. I also feel that the romantic aspect felt out of place in the book.

Author Information:
(From TLC Book Tours)


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About Talia CarnerTalia Carner

Talia Carner is the former publisher of Savvy Womanmagazine and a lecturer at international women’s economic forums. This is her fourth novel.
Visit Talia at her website, taliacarner.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.



Opinion:

I have to say that the time period and the setting piqued my curiosity to choose this book. I came from Moscow Russia in 1994, and although I was only a child in 1993, I wanted to see a glimpse of a homeland that I knew. From reading previous books about Russia, mainly Anya von Bramzen's cookbook/memoir of her and her family's years in Russia, I got an inkling of an idea what I might be in for. This book, however, shocked me to the core, and I couldn't believe that its Russia from 1993, Russia I grew up in because the atmosphere and everything was heavily reminiscent of the Russia of 1950s, Russia that my parents knew. Nothing prepared me for the book, nothing. The book and the story also gave me a very deep appreciation for what my parents went through and survived to get to where we are. While I do feel that the author was very accurate with the Russia I knew from memories and stories, I do feel that there are some inaccuracies; first of all there were numbers for emergencies, namely 01 for fire, 02 for police and 03 for medical help. Also, in Russia, police is called militsiya. I'm not sure of beauty when it comes to Russian women, but as far as my memories are, real beauty in Russia is something that enhances it rather than something that seems, well, garish. Also as well, the Chinese character in the book would have been treated and referred to very differently in Russia than the American women, and in Russia you didn't go around and broadcast that you are Jewish by wearing the Star of David. Maybe also its cynicism or being jaded, but I have a question: why do minorities, be they racial or ethnic constantly have to prove themselves to the majority that they are as good as the majority is? Why are minorities are seen as less than human? That's what I questioned when I was reading of how Brooke helped a woman named Svetlana (I promise that its not me but someone else,) out of some situations.

This is for TLC

Talia’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, June 2nd: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, June 3rd: Dwell in Possibility
Thursday, June 4th: Raven Haired Girl
Friday, June 5th: Charmingly Modern
Monday, June 8th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, June 9th: A Utah Mom’s Life
Wednesday, June 10th: As I turn the pages
Thursday, June 11th: Luxury Reading
Monday, June 15th: Lavish Bookshelf
Wednesday, June 17th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Thursday, June 18th: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Monday, June 22nd: Bibliotica
Tuesday, June 23rd: Mel’s Shelves
Wednesday, June 24th: A Book Geek
Thursday, June 25th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Thursday, June 25th: Doing Dewey
Friday, June 26th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, June 29th: Book Dilettante
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like this book really connected with you in some ways, and shocked you in others.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

    ReplyDelete

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