Ursina's Reviews > The Line

The Line by Olga Grushin
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Feb 23, 10

bookshelves: 2010-read, 2010-release, own-it, war-crime-edge
Read in February, 2010

Talent, emotion and the pure power of words come together in The Line by Olga Grushin. Due out for release in late March by Penguin Canada, this book is one of those you might not finish all at once but are guaranteed to remember. Here's what Goodreads had to say:

The line: the universal symbol of scarcity and bureau­cracy that exists wherever petty officials are let loose to abuse their powers.

The line begins to form on the whispered rumor that a famous exiled composer is returning to Moscow to conduct his last symphony. Tickets will be limited. Nameless faces join the line, jostling for preferred position. But as time passes and the seasons change and the ticket kiosk remains shuttered, these anonymous souls take on individual shape. Unlikely friendships are forged, long-buried memories spring to life, and a year-long wait is rewarded with unexpected acts of kindness that ease the bleakness of harshly lived lives. A disparate gaggle of strangers evolves into a community of friends united in their desire to experience music they have never been allowed to hear.

The Line is a transformative novel that speaks to the endurance of the human spirit even as it explores the ways in which we love-and what we do for love.

While this book is not something I normally read, I got an ARC of it from Penguin Canada. I have to say for a second novel, this is an amazing show of writer's talent. Grushin can string together words in a way that you normally only find from authors that go down in history as 'great'. She brought out an emotion and depth to her writing that I have rarely read. As you read this story you can feel the black clouds hanging over Anna and her family's head. You can get a great sense of what Russia was like back when it was the USSR without needing a history lesson. What I liked best was how the characters always seemed to hope for something and no matter how terrible things got, they clung to this hope. The kiosk becomes a way of living and a daily part of their lives after the first time somebody asks, "What do you want?". The Line is about wishes, hope, family and sacrifices. There are, according to the author's note, several true historical facts in the book. Because I am just awe-struck by the emotion and the power pulled from words by the author, I give this 4 stars. Where's the 5th star you ask? Well, it got lost somewhere in a plot that sometimes lacked direction. This book is more for an adult and sophisticated audience than for leisure reading so it gets an IT Book Ranking of On The Shelf. Overall a good read!
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message 1: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Her previous novel was pretty impressive. I'm looking forward to this one. Good review!


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