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  • Published: 10 February 2022
  • ISBN: 9781473596139
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

Iron Curtain

A Love Story




Two worlds on the brink of change in a love story doomed to disaster

'A book so full of steel and compassion that it stands glitteringly apart' Rachel Cusk

'A piercingly evocative East-West love story' The Times
'Atmospheric and gloriously vivid' Guardian
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Two worlds on the brink of change in a love story doomed to disaster

Milena is a Red Princess living in a Soviet Satellite state in the 1980s. She enjoys limitless luxury and limited freedom; the end of the Cold War seems unimaginable.

When she meets Jason, a confident British poet, Milena is appalled by his political naivety and his poor choice of footwear. Still, they fall into bed together, and before long Milena is secretly planning to escape to Britain.

1980s London defies her privileged expectations. The rented flat is grim and the food is disgusting but she is with the man she loves and there are no hidden cameras to record her every move. But then Milena discovers that Jason's idea of freedom hurts even more...

With sharp wit and tender precision, Vesna Goldsworthy unpicks the failures of family and state. Iron Curtain is a sly, elegant human drama that challenges the myths we tell ourselves.

'A pacy page-turner... Full of humour, pathos and poignancy' Irish Independent

'Vesna Goldsworthy's finely wrought third novel explodes into life... Potent' Spectator

'A wonderful, perfectly-pitched novel: full of delightful intrigue and wry insight about the human predicament and its unique tensions' William Boyd

  • Published: 10 February 2022
  • ISBN: 9781473596139
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

About the author

Vesna Goldsworthy

Vesna Goldsworthy comes from Belgrade. She began her writing life as a poet and aged 22 performed her poetry to thirty thousand people at a football stadium. At 24 she moved to the UK and started writing in English, her third language. Her widely-translated books include a prize-winning poetry collection The Angel of Salonika; an internationally bestselling memoir, Chernobyl Strawberries; and the London-based novels Gorsky and Monsieur Ka. A former BBC World Service journalist, she is now an academic and occasional broadcaster.

Also by Vesna Goldsworthy

See all

Praise for Iron Curtain

Vesna Goldsworthy's masterly novel retains the grace and resilience of literary art while wading deep into the most riveting human drama... Goldsworthy is at once the most impartial and the tenderest of observers, a bold dramatist and a subtle humorist

Rachel Cusk

An extraordinary evocation of two wildly contrasted worlds... Vesna Goldsworthy writes so well!

Michael Frayn

Original and memorable... a profound understanding of the timeless realities of love, betrayal and the desire for revenge

Pat Barker

Gripping... With grace and a dose of forgiveness, Goldsworthy performs a heartbreaking but exhilarating evisceration of the myths by which we live now

Nancy K. Miller

Superb... The divided continent has been at the heart of countless novels over the decades, but few can have been as cleverly crafted or better told than Vesna Goldsworthy's Iron Curtain... Brilliantly written

Nick Rennison, Sunday Times

Timely... Daring... A bittersweet tale of loyalty, love and the siren call of freedom

Rebecca Abrams, Financial Times

Goldsworthy's crisply observed and entertaining novel has serious overtones and poses uncomfortable questions, not least about the supposed superiority of the West

Suzi Feay, Tablet, *Novel of the Week*

A pacy rite-of-passage story that doubles as a portrait of the poisonous legacies of police-state paranoia

Anthony Cummins, Daily Mail

The pages fly by, and Goldsworthy's careful scrutiny brings warmth and sympathy to her tale of belonging and betrayal. Tense, brooding and often hilarious, Iron Curtain finds bright sparks as well as bleakness in the cold war's dying embers

James Stuart, Guardian

This excellent novel is a comedy of manners nevertheless fraught with tension... Goldsworthy captures the human perspective of life in the cold war superbly and sympathetically

Alexander Larman, Observer

A love story that begins in the East and moves to the West. It serves as a timely reminder that the European states once dominated by Soviet ideology were a patchwork of cultures with their own individual histories

Fiona Hughes, Radio Times

Iron Curtain seized me from its first page and I hardly put it down again until I arrived with reluctance to its stunning conclusion... Moving but also irresistibly enjoyable

Megan Nolan

[A] well-observed, witty novel

The Times, *Summer Reads of 2022*

A poignant, bittersweet love story played out across the east-west divide, it challenges set ideas about loyalty, freedom and ideology

Frederick Studemann, Financial Times, *Summer Books 2022*

It would be possible to read library stacks' worth of books about what life on the eastern side of the curtain was like, trying to understand the feeling of the late Soviet Union... Or you could read this book

Jasper Lindell, Canberra Times

Beautifully crafted... Goldsworthy's evocative descriptions of both worlds - the rigid ice of the east and the damp monotony of the west - lend a filmic quality to this layered novel

New Humanist

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