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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, with a political backdrop of Thatcher and Reagan in the West, and an ailing Soviet Union in the East, Travails with Thomas: To Russia With Love by Michael Gannon follows Thomas and John, who think a coach tour to the Soviet Union is a good idea.
Travails With Thomas: To Russia With Love
Travails With Thomas: To Russia With Love by Michael Gannon takes readers back 40 years to a West and East that have changed beyond recognition to recount a trip that proved more testing at times than enjoyable.
In the 1980s, Thatcher’s Britain, two friends decide to go on a coach trip to the Soviet Union to see what life is really like on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Inhibited civil servant Thomas is warned by his superiors that he could be a victim of a honey trap by a Russian blonde and is desperate to see if he can be seduced. Journalist John wants to set the record straight during the journey with former in-laws in Warsaw of a disastrous marriage to a Polish woman. But the trip offers characters and events on the way that confound their expectations.
Based on a true story and sharing Thomas and John’s decision to head off on a coach tour adventure to the Soviet Union, the author entertains and informs in this satirical romp through an Eastern Bloc on the cusp of change.
Capturing the essence of Soviet life before Gorbachev’s Glasnost openness and Perestroika restructuring began to take shape, Travails with Thomas: To Russia With Love delivers an eye-opening, humorous and compelling read for all those interested in history, politics and this currently troubled part of the world.
Both the characters in the novel are keen to see for themselves what a different society looks like to them, even on a packaged tour. The novel is a humorous, satirical look at a Europe that has disappeared – one experiencing the height of a Cold War with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher setting the agenda in the West and a frail and ageing Soviet leadership in the East.
And in terms of the title, I deliberately chose ‘Travails’ as a play on words because parts of the trip proved to be more of a testing time than an enjoyable one.-Michael Gannon
Michael Gannon is a retired trade journalist, living in Fulham. Born in Hammersmith, he has had a number of plays performed at his local fringe theatre. A collection of short stories, entitled Eat, Drink and be Merry: Foodie Short Stories is available on Amazon/Kindle.
Gannon is currently writing a sequel to Travails with Thomas: To Russia with Love. This is concerning a trip with Thomas to the Balkans in 1989, immediately prior to the collapse of the communist regimes there.
Among his interests are theatre, classical music, current affairs, cooking and an undying support of Fulham FC.
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