Salt the Snow
Milly Bennett has left America behind for an exciting news correspondent’s job in 1930s Russia, reporting on how Socialism is affecting the Soviet people. An experienced journalist, Milly is still taken aback by how difficult life is for the everyday person in Moscow, where she is based. Her daily job consists of working at the Moscow Daily News, along with a handful of other international journalists. But at night, she mingles with locals, drinking vodka in Russian nightclubs.
Her life takes a dramatic change when she falls in love with Zhenya, a tender actor, and they marry. Not long afterward, Zhenya is arrested by the police for the crime of being a homosexual and is sent to a labor camp in Siberia. The remainder of the novel is based upon Milly’s brave and exhausting efforts to have him exonerated and set free. Along the way she comes to acknowledge her true calling in life, and the difficult truth about love.
My takeaways from the novel were the vivid descriptions of Moscow in the 1930s, the extreme brutality of Russian winters, and the precarious lives of the Russian citizens always under the watchful eyes of the police. The plot switches back and forth in time from before Zhenya’s arrest and afterward, and on more than one occasion, I had to consult the chapter heading to remember which year I was currently reading. Overall, it is an enjoyable story. Recommended.