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Hotel Moscow: A Novel
by Talia Carner

Published: 2015-06-02
Paperback : 464 pages
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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 ...

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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.

Editorial Review

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DAY 1: Thursday, September 30, 1993

The plane had emptied by the time Brooke Fielding strode down the ramp tube of the Moscow airport, her burgundy-colored raincoat and overnight case strapped with an elastic cord to a wheeled carrier. In the narrow, windowless Jetway, the two last passengers followed right behind her, men lugging clear plastic bags that sported a Duty Free Shop logo and were stuffed with cigarettes, whiskey, perfumes, and a variety of cheeses and sausages. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. When Brooke first decides to go to Moscow, her goal is to gain expertise about the new market in order to save her job. Discuss the change in her goals once she arrives at the Gorbachevskaya Street Factory.

2. Friendship can transcend cultures. Can it really? Discuss Brooke's growing fondness toward the Russian women she meets in light of her realization of their anti-Semitic past (Olga) or present (Svetlana.)

3. With the fall of communism Russian women lost both their legal rights and the safety nets of social services. Discuss what constitutional rights they had had which does not exist in the USA, and conversely, what rights do we have had that Russian women sorely needed?

4. Corruption in Russia in 1993 seems to pervades every sphere of life. Discuss what you’ve learned from the novel, what feeds this corruption, and what, you believe, are the ways to rein it. Is it different –and how—from what we know of corruption in our own political, economic or social systems?

5. How has the legacy of the Holocaust affected Brooke? Did escaping her sad home give her the freedom she sought?

6. Brooke carries with her two secrets that threaten to destroy her career. Yet she is thrilled when one of those secrets is exposed. Does it have the potential to destroy her the way the other might? Are these two transgressions viewed differently in our current mores? What about your own social environment?

7. Upon learning that Brooke works long hours, Svetlana commiserates with her because “they make you work so hard.” Discuss the career choices and work lifestyle in the societies represented by the two superpowers.

8. In spite of her high education, Olga is ignorant of basic business principals. The concept of “capitalism” is both revered and loathed. Discuss how government-controlled market economy is different from open market economy—production, distribution, or marketing. Do you believe that a government should stay completely out of the game or should it impose regulations and controls?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

“With the urgency of a thriller and the sharp, atmospheric lens of a great documentary, HOTEL MOSCOW hurls you into the vortex of the corrupt, outlaw world of the Soviet Union morphing into modern Russia. A fascinating and ultimately, gripping read!"

-- Andrew Gross, NYT bestselling author of One Mile Under

"Talia Carner sweeps us away along with her brave and determined heroine to an exotic and complex time and place, and keeps us riveted with the tension and dangers of international intrigue. A real page-turner!"

--Tami Hoag, New York Times Bestselling author of COLD COLD HEART

"Hotel Moscow is bold and breathless. A smart story about a fearless New York woman who arrives in Russia with more baggage than she knows, it explores both the personal and the political with compelling prose, heartfelt insights and gripping action. An impressive achievement!"

-- Ellen Meister, author of Farewell, Dorothy Parker

“Talia Carner is a born storyteller, and in her new novel, Hotel Moscow, her unique gifts are in abundance. She has written a compelling tale of life during the fall of the Soviet Union—engaging, exciting, and revelatory of what it was like for a woman to be there in a time of great danger, and great change. This is a stunning and very shrewd book that will linger vividly in the memory of every reader.”

-- Jay Neugeboren, award-winning author of Imagining Robert, 1940, The Stolen Jew, and others

“Hotel Moscow is a tantalizing book full of corruption, extortion and the shocking treatment of women—and that is just the tip of the Russian iceberg. Talia Carner’s engaging style draws you in with its powerful description of life in Russia twenty months after the fall of communism. I was mesmerized from beginning to end.”

--Deborah Rodriguez, Author The Kabul Beauty School

“… Overcoming decades of rigid thinking and navigating in a dark underworld controlled by a brutal mafia and a male-dominated, politically corrupt bureaucracy, makes the task a lot more challenging and dangerous than anticipated, at the same time it makes for a gripping read. Rich with insight and detail, as well as drama and emotion, through its multiple-character narrative this book deftly explores a chapter in history that is little understood much less written about, while telling a heartening story about the possibilities for change and empowerment that follow when brave women work creatively together to forge a better future.”

-- Rodney Barker, Author of “Dancing with the Devil: Sex, Espionage and the U.S. Marines”

“A heroine both glamorous and smart, hard-driving and compassionate, Brooke Fielding -- American investment counselor and daughter of Holocaust survivors – travels through the looking glass of Russia, 1993, when the country was lurching toward capitalism, women were coming into their own, and danger lurked around every corner. In Talia Carner’s sweeping and suspenseful Hotel Moscow, Brooke takes us lucky readers on a perilous journey with her not only to a fascinating place and era, but also into the secrets of her own soul.”

-- Roy Hoffman, author of the novels, “Chicken Dreaming Corn,” and “Come Landfall”

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by Karen H. (see profile) 07/31/17

  "Doing Business with Russian Women"by Betty T. (see profile) 08/30/15

This is one of those rare books that I wanted to rush through because it had me so totally engrossed in the story. I felt the fear and intensity as unbelievable incidents were described. But... (read more)

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