I have finally completed it. It ended on a sombre note but there are several insuperable moments in it. It is the story of a young girl Kira and the people around her on the backdrop of the communist wave that swept Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century. One thing that evinces clearly from this novel is Ayn Rand's strong disapproval of Communism. Through Kira she tells us ' dont you know there are things in the best of us which no outside hand should dare to touch. ' The conversation between Andrei Taganov and Kira when they meet at the university is classic and so is the one when she finally confronts him about the 'truth'. The description of Kira attempting to cross the border is another acme of the narrative. The scene when she calls out for her lover Leo that would have been had he been there is quite poignant. Irina's talk to Kira when the last time she meets her is also beautifully knitted. Irina says '..There's your life you begin it feeling that its something so precious and rare so beautiful that its like a sacred treasure and now it's over it doesnt make a difference to anyone, and its not they they are indifferent its just that they dont know, they dont know what it means the treasure of mine ...' In the end Ayn Rand makes one point clear - we the living, the life, the individual, the self-esteem, the values are much above anything else.
While reading the novel I couldnt help but underline one thing about the strife ridden Russia. In Russia, the czar's atrocities led to the communist thinking and his subsequent dethroning. This was not wrong. But what was wrong was the fiendishness in dealing with wealth owners of yesterday - the factory owners, the aristocrats and the counter revolutionaries. Two wrongs dont make a right. Something similar has been brewing up back home too.