Posted by Book Mavens on 7th July 2011
Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel, March 2011
Summary: This is the heart wrenching story of one family’s deportation from Lithuania to Siberia by the Soviet secret police during World War II.
Lina Vilkas is just 15 years old when the secret police burst into her Lithuanian home and take her, her mother, and younger brother Jonas away. Thrust onto a train meant for carrying livestock, Lina and her family join others from their neighborhood on a harrowing six week long trek to Siberia. Unsure of what has happened to her father but hoping they will be reunited with him soon, Lina and her family concentrate on surviving the horrific conditions they are forced to endure. A gifted artist, Lina uses her drawings to leave clues for her father as to their whereabouts, hoping against hope that he will receive her messages and find his family.
This is more than a fictionalized account of one family’s suffering at the hands of Josef Stalin. It is a glimpse into the lesser known history of violence and genocide directed at the Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian people by the Soviet government during and after World War II. I found this to be a very moving story of family and community, and most of all hope.
Who Might Like This?: Teens and adults interested in historical fiction.
Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator
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Tags: 2011 Releases, Coming of Age, Family, Genocide, Siberia, Survival, Terrorism, World War II, YA Crossover
Posted in Fiction, Historical, Teen Books for Adults | No Comments »
Posted by Merry Mao on 24th September 2010
Title: The Gendarme
Author: Mark T. Mustian
Publisher: Penguin Group, September 2010
Summary: Emmett Conn is 92 years old. Recently widowed and suffering from a brain tumor, he is plagued with headaches and bad dreams. The dreams come to him like a movie being played out in his mind, scene by scene. They begin to feel more like memories than dreams, but a head injury suffered during WWI left Emmett with very little memory of the war or his life before it. In these dreams Emmett is a Turkish gendarme, a position that one would hold before becoming a soldier. He is known as Ahmet Khan, the name he had before entering the United States. His assignment as a gendarme is to lead a group of Armenian deportees from their homes in Turkey to a camp in Syria. He leads this caravan of sick and dying men, women, and children for several weeks. Most of these deportees, considered a security threat by the Turkish government, die along the way. Though he wishes that it were not true, Emmett soon accepts that these are memories of his past; a past in which he played a terrible role in an almost forgotten genocide. It is also a past of forbidden love and the search for redemption.
This story alternates between Emmett’s life as it was, slowly revealed to him in his dreams, and his life as it is now. A life filled with doctors’ visits, his daughters growing concern for his physical and mental health, and the awful memories that begin to reveal themselves. It is a story of the horrors of war and the dangers of prejudice. It is also a story of forgiveness-of yourself and those who cause you harm. This is a remarkable novel.
Who will like this book? Fans of historical fiction.
Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator
Tags: Armenia, Genocide, Turkey, World War I
Posted in Fiction, Historical | No Comments »