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A Reader of Fictions: Sabbath Prayer from Fiddler on the Roof

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sabbath Prayer from Fiddler on the Roof


Author: Christina Shea
Pages: 256
ARC Acquired from: Grove/Atlantic via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Beginning in WWII and ending in the early 1990s, Smuggled tells the life story of Eva Farkas, and the story of Hungary and Romania under communist rule. Eva was smuggled out of Hungary thanks to her wealthy father; her mother, his mistress, was Jewish, making Eva a possible target. Eva is sent to her father's sister and her husband in Romania. Thanks to forged papers and a talent with languages, she is able to survive the war and get an education. Her story doesn't end there; nor does life get much easier after the war.

What drew me to this book was the WWII setting. This era has long been my favorite historical time period to read about and study, perhaps surpassed in recent years by the Vietnam War era but perhaps not. Anyway, the WWII aspects, primarily of Eva's smuggling, were definitely really interesting. Even more intriguing, though, was reading the story of her life in Romania, of the myriad terrible things she had to do to survive.

Although the first third of the book details Anca's childhood, this is most definitely not a book intended for young readers. The themes are dark and only get darker as Anca grows up. Speaking of that, be forewarned that this story is gritty and painful and violent at times. It involves scenes of rape and prostitution. History isn't always pretty, which, I think, people generally know, but this is a side that isn't always as focused on. Eva/Anca (her Romanian name) has such an amazing spirit to have made it through all that she did. Despite all of the awful things she goes through, she retains the ability to trust and to love, which is incredibly inspiring. Nor does her character seem at all fake or overly optimistic; she's just a really strong person.

If you love books about the war or about life under the Soviet regime, you should not miss this one. It's beautifully written and completely fascinating from the first pages.

"May the Lord protect and defend you.
May the Lord preserve you from pain.
Favor them, Oh Lord, with happiness and peace.
Oh, hear our Sabbath prayer. Amen."

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Blogger Lenore Appelhans said...

Hey - could you send your mailing address to lenore.appelhans at googlemail dot com ? I need to pass it on the pub so you can get your books.

September 14, 2011 at 1:23 AM  

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