A Ticket to the Stars

by Vassily Aksyonov

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

A group of four Soviet teenagers are the protagonists in this novel, which concentrates on their adventures together. As these three boys and one girl have come of age after World War II, they do not relate to the wartime hardships and resent the conformity imposed on them. They show various attitudes toward fitting into or rebelling against the system, which change through their journey.

Dimka, age 17, is a recent highschool graduate trying to decide whether to work or continue studying. Dimka decides to leave Moscow and strike out on his own. While he is away, his older brother is killed in an accident, which brings him back into the family.

Yurka is one of the classmates who travel with Dimka on an adventure westward. Yurka dreams of becoming a professional athlete through basketball, but his plans may be derailed by his escapade. He falls in love with Galya.

Alik is another classmate who goes on the trip. An introspective, artistic person, Alik plans for a career in writing. He aims to use his experience to advance his goals rather than relying solely on college, but he is also rather aimless. His independent streak is manifested during the trip.

Galya is the only female member of the four. Although she and Dimka are a couple, she also behaves flirtatiously with Yurka. Her parents do not approve of her going off with the young men. Galya also is romanced by an older actor, whom she hopes will help her with her fledgling acting career.

Victor, Dimka’s older brother, is a nuclear physicist and space scientist. Having lived through the Second World War, he wants to serve his country. His unwillingness to compromise his academic integrity prevents him from finishing his thesis. Victor supports Dimka’s right to rebel, even though he thinks the trip is a mistake. His positive influence shapes his brother’s decision to pursue his heart's desire.

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