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A Tear in the Curtain
A Tear in the Curtain

A Tear in the Curtain


208 Pages, 5.25 x 7.75

Formats: EPUB, Mobipocket, PDF

PDF, $12.99 (US $12.99) (CA $14.99)

Publication Date: May 2013

ISBN 9780856833922

Rights: US, CA, CAM & SAM

Shepheard-Walwyn Publishers (May 2013)


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The lives of three families are vividly chronicled in this novel that details 40 years during the Cold War and its aftermath. The experiences of each family—one British, one Hungarian, and one Russian—reflect the brutality, danger, bravery, heartbreak, hope, and disappointment during the days when the world was divided by the Iron Curtain. The book builds on confidential Communist Party documents released by President Yeltsin to Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky and the author’s numerous conversations with real people who were persecuted or imprisoned by the Gestapo or KGB. It is an account that skillfully portrays how the children, as they grew up, and their families in their respective countries were affected by world events—including the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, the Solidarity movement in Poland in the early 1980s, and the end of Communism in Eastern Europe in 1989 and in the Soviet Union in 1991.


"[John Symons] is a born writer."  —Gabriel Woolf, English film, radio, and television actor

"[John Symons] is a consummate artist in style, with a poet's eye for detail. The story is exceptionally vivid . . . expressing deep faith and perception of the meaning of life."  —C. F. D. Moule, Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge, on Stranger on the Shore

“A Tear in the Curtain is as beautifully written as John Symons' previous book, Stranger on the Shore. It is an important book, not only for those who lived through the Cold War, but possibly even more for those young adults now learning about it for the first time, at school or university.” Professor Michael Ewans, Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, author of Janácek's Tragic Operas, Wagner and Aeschylus, and Opera from the Greek

"This is the history of Russia, but in a form that you will not have read it before. It is at the same time objective and intensely personal. It tells us more in a few pages than many more formal accounts manage in a whole volume ... Academic writers just do not seem to achieve this perspective ... A short review cannot ... reveal the riches of this novel: easy reading, full of insight, inspiring, and leaving one with the conviction that Russia's renewed betrayal of its moral values can be only a passing phase." —Michael Bourdeaux, founder of Keston Institute, Oxford in the Church Times

"This is a gem of a book, perfect for those who want some special reading for the summer, compellingly well-written, so absorbing it can be read at a sitting. Re-reading yields more each time, like the best music ... spare, beautiful prose - all the more moving for its under-stated elegance and all the more gripping for its striking use of Hemingway-like short sentence and punchy dialogue ... His technique of using three families across generations allows full scope to the author’s immense emotional and intellectual range. Its approach and theme are worthy of comparison with Jung Chang’s Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China ... he has written what deserves to become a classic of its kind."  —Giles Mercer, Catholic Times

Author Biography

John Symons is a classical and modern historian, fluent in Russian, and the author of Stranger on the Shore and This Life of Grace.