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Stalina

2.95  ·  Rating details ·  395 ratings  ·  39 reviews
When Stalina Folskaya flees her native Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, she sets out for America with her dreams — and her painful past — firmly in tow. In St. Petersburg, Stalina was a trained chemist, but in America, disillusioned with her profession, she takes a job as a maid at the Liberty, a seedy, “short-stay” motel on the outskirts of Hartford, ...more
Paperback, 206 pages
Published January 18th 2011 by AmazonEncore (first published December 21st 2010)
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Average rating 2.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  395 ratings  ·  39 reviews


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Amanda
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
This was really bad. I did not enjoy it, and only read the whole thing because I wanted to see if anything was actually going to happen. I gave it 2 stars instead of 1 because the author did do a good job of setting scenes and I really felt like I was at that motel front desk with Stalina. I just wanted to leave. Really badly.

If it had cost more than 99 cents on Amazon for my Kindle I would be VERY irritated.
Roderick Hart
Mar 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Stalina is named after Stalin by her mother, partly to protect her since she was a Jew in the Soviet Union, but also because her mother, though afraid of Stalin, is nevertheless a communist.

Stalina trains as a chemist in the Soviet Union, but when she moves to the United States in 1991 finds that the only jobs she is offered involve hazardous substances and too little regard to safety. So she takes a job as a maid in the Liberty Motel, working for Mr Suri, an Indian gentleman whom she comes to
...more
Daphne
Jan 24, 2011 added it
There are many delightful moments in this odd and entertaining novel.
Named after the man whose many victims include her own father, Stalina Folskaya embodies the ambiguity of so many Soviet citizens toward their country and its communist past; her mother named her for the leader she both “worshipped and feared” out of reverence as well as protection—necessary for a Jew in Russia. And so at the start of this quirky novel, Stalina, like so many Russian Jews in the early 90’s, leaves her country
...more
Heather C
I have to admit that the first thing that led me to select this novel was the fact that much of it takes place in Connecticut. Not too many books are set in this location and as that is where I was born and raised I have an affinity for good old CT. I also have read very, very little on Russia, so I was interested in that setting as well. The story shifts back and forth between Stalina in the present, 1990’s-2000’s, in Connecticut to her past in Russia. I also loved that it was set in a “short ...more
Anya
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
I was intrigued to read Stalina because in the free kindle sample I found out that she (the main character and the narrator) came to the USA in 1991 – a year before I arrived here, and her mother was born in 1935 – which would make her just a year younger than my mother is. I realized that it’s not a memoir, but fiction, and yet, I was looking forward to finding similarities to my former live in the USSR and my mother’s many memories. I was disappointed by many cultural inaccuracies strewn ...more
Barb
Mar 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Just OK. I did learn a little about life in Russia..
Lisa Bennett
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely little story. I took to Stalina straight away and didn't want to put it down.
Barbara
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A powerful read from a skillful author, Stalina gripped me right from the opening pages. I loved the main character -- serious, resourceful and persistent. I cheered her on as she emigrated from Russia to the U.S. and I enjoyed her ingenuity as she carved out a new role for herself at the Liberty Motel. The weaving in of her younger life in the old Soviet Union was a haunting reminder that even when we reinvent ourselves, we can never truly escape the past. Historical fiction at its best!
Melissa Rhoads
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Stalina was quirky and different. I enjoyed her bizarre little world and her Russian-ness made it unique and interesting.
DubaiReader
Aug 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: vine, 2011
Starts well, disappointing ending.

This book started out well, I was readily drawn in to the life of Russian, Stalina Folskaya, who leaves her homeland for America in 1991, at the age of 51. I would have liked a bit more about her reasons for leaving, especially as she left an elderly, demented mother behind in St Petersburg. However, we meet her as she is preparing to leave and so assume those thought processes are behind her.

Arriving at Kennedy Airport, she makes her way to Hartford,
...more
Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
Mar 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
“Stalina” by Emily Rubin is the fictional story of a Russian immigrant to the United States. The story takes place after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Stalina Folskaya flees St. Petersburg search for a better life in the United States. Stalina leaves behind her elderly, alzhimeric, mother and her past. As a trained chemist, Stalina is quickly disillusioned about her bright future prospects and becomes a maid at a short-stay motel.

Stalina convinces her boss to let her design some of the fantasy
...more
Yolo
Feb 28, 2011 rated it liked it
My feelings for this novel are mixed. On one hand it’s a well written book but on the other hand it’s not quite there for me. It was as if the book had no plot or rather no climax.

I did enjoy reading the narrator’s description of Russia post Soviet Union. However, I wasn’t sure if the details were facts.

For the most part the characters were well-developed and the author did a good job of painting a visual picture of the scenes. I also enjoyed exploring the relationships of the characters. My
...more
Kirsten
Apr 29, 2014 rated it liked it
I am not Russian, but have known many, and this book does capture a Russian ethos in the characters. A shorter book, means you can read it before that Russian ethos overwhelms. I found it hard to relate to Stalina or the other characters, but I liked the author's descriptive style, the subtle plotting of the story line ( this is a creeping plot but works in a short book). The setting of short stay hotels in Connecticut really made this story much more interesting. The plot is mostly set in ...more
Amanda
I thought this was a refreshing book! Stalina was named after Josef Stalin, in order for her Jewish Russian parents to fit in better into Communist Soviet society. She of course manages to have her birthday party on the day he dies, and things just spiral into "not good" from there. Her father is sent to a gulag, and her mother (parents survived the Siege of Leningrad) is never really the same.

Decades later, Stalina emigrates to the United States, just after the fall of the Soviet Union. She
...more
Virginia
This was an odd read. Can't say I really enjoyed it, nor did I dislike it either. It was just sort of there. It's a fairly easy read all in all but no idea what the point was or what the author was trying to impart. It begins sort of nowhere and traveled to an end that was no where and in between was some decent writing, acceptable prose but for what? I feel certain there was intended to be some great mystical meaning, some deep profound understanding....but for the life of me I surely missed ...more
Anne
Apr 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
Pooely written, confusing with unlikeable characters. At first I thought it must be a translation but it isn't. It actually was written in English.

I chose this book to gain some insight into Stalin's impact on Russia but ended up in a sleezy motel in Miami . . . I admit it. I stopped reading the book halfway through. I've recently come to the realization that if I don't like a book I don't have to finish it.
Traci
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
I didn't get the point of this book. I don't know what I was expecting but this seemed disjointed. She moves to America in her 50s or 60s and ends up working at a motel where hookers and cheaters go for their "short stay"...rendezvous. Random people from Stanlina's time in Russia show up to add some "flavor" to the mix and them there's this random crow and cat thing going on. Eh... I'm not happy that I paid $1 for it.
Sandra
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: purchased
Stalina brings her corner of the U.S. to life through her uniquely Russian lens. Her creativity is unpretentious, almost childlike, and completely enchanting. She tells the story of her childhood in Russia as well as her immigrant adulthood from the context of the short-stay motel in Connecticut where she begins her American dream journey. Her lack of judgment and prejudice offer a rare view of life
Kathy
Apr 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Our main character is from St. Petersburg, Russia, so I loved the Russian references and descriptions of St. Pete's. She emigrates to the States and lands in Connecticut where she becomes the cleaning lady, then the manager of a "by-the-hour" hotel. Funny encounters are sprinkled throughout. Another immigrant story with a bit more fun bent.
Anne  Matasci
A quirky, enigmatic book - much like Stalina herself and a few Russians whom I have met. It's relatively short, and most characters are not deeply developed, but there is enough detail to allow the reader to form an sense of the person. A fun read, not to be taken too seriously - it was an enjoyable entertainment on a cross-continental flight.
Lis
Mar 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A really interesting book. It gives a glimpse in the life of a Russian immigrant - telling of both life in Russia and the US. Stalina's job in the US isn't an average job and with that comes a peek into a side of life most will never know anything about. Read it to expand your knowledge. I became quite fond of Stalina. :)
Trixie Fontaine
Short and sweet. TOO MANY SIMILES!

Some elements of this book were very endearing to me, like Stalina's love of rooms-rented-by-the-hour and acceptance of sex work as a regular and even awesome part of life. Her easy acceptance of sex workers being murdered as being sad but not something to report, though: not endearing.

What can you do, folks? What can you do . . .
Debbie
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book seemed disjointed. It was depressing to read the many misfortunes that occurred in the protagonist's life. Life was bleak in Russia for Stalina and didn't improve much when she moved to Connecticut and lived with a childhood friend who stole from her.
Roberta
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a fun book. Highly recommend. Especially loved the last part where Stalina, an emigre to America from Russia, now in her sixties, sits in the heart shaped bath tub full of bubbles, drinking vodka and reminiscing about her eventful life. Thiip! Think I'll recommend it to my book club.
Marti
This was a weird little novel. There were some funny parts and some serious parts, but there didn't seem to be a clear story line with a problem, climax and solution. The main character, Stalina seemed to meander about sharing information as she came to it without a rhyme or reason.
Rita
Jan 29, 2013 rated it liked it
I thought this book was interesting and engaging, but I also felt that it missed a certain excitement factor. Some of the interactions with the main character and other characters fell short and could have had more depth.
Michaela
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ok

The book was a quick read, with not that many twists and turns. I was expecting a little bit more.
Carolyn Nash
Jan 14, 2014 rated it did not like it
"Revenge is filled with subversion like a blini stuffed with mushrooms."

No. Just...no no no no no.
Helen Macan
Good story, slightly boring at times

The story was interesting but sometimes it just drowned on and on. Much better than a formula romance! Definitely readable.
J.R.
Jan 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle-books
I find it good to read stuff out of my usual comfort zone. This was there and yet it was still very pleasnt to read. I enjoyed the style in which Rubin brought detail to it.
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