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Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts

After Anatevka, Alexandra Silber (Book) | Review

After Anatevka, Alexandra Silber (Book) | Review

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Not just a writer, but a renowned actress both here in the UK and across the pond, Alexandra Silber has successfully made an incredible transition from stage to page with her debut novel, After Anatevka. The novel is a study of love and tradition in Russia in the early twentieth century and is the perfect continuation of Fiddler on the Roof and Hodel's story. Silber's writing is stunningly eloquent and she conjures up images of the long gone world with a delightful flow and accuracy.

With the ever growing popularity of sites such as fanfic and wattpad, there seems to be a desire to continue the stories of our favourite characters, but whilst these can sometimes be cheesy and idealistic, Silber's is raw, truthful and gritty.

We last see Hodel, the second eldest daughter of Tevye and Golde, when she is leaving her father in Anatevka as she gets on a train to Siberia to work and be with her love, Perchik who has been branded as a political criminal by the Tsarist government. As the train approaches, Hodel promises her father that one day, she and Perchik will be married in a traditional Jewish ceremony although they both know Tevye will never see this happen as she says "God alone knows when we shall see each other again". This is the final time we see Hodel and are left to to deal with the heartbreaking reality of what she would have faced when she reached Siberia.  

After Anatevka tells us exactly what Hodel faced in the corrupt, violent world she was placed in on her mission to reach her fiancé. I think what's most heartbreaking about this novel is how much truth is in it. Whilst this is a work of fiction, the happenings are not fictional and many, if not all prisoners of the state were treated in the same atrocious ways. What's clear is how painstakingly meticulous Silber's research was and how she was able to weave this all in to create a shockingly truthful portrayal of Siberia in the early twentieth century. 

As well as showing the pain Hodel experiences in the present, Silber also throws in little anecdotes about her childhood and her relationship with her sisters, especially her somewhat combative but loving sister, Tzeitel. Their love is clear and provides moving passages showing the longing she feels to see those she left behind. Perchik's backstory is also particularly interesting and adds a layer which is not seen in the show and shows why he fights his way through the Gulag's challenges so ferociously.

After Anatevka is a profound debut novel. Alexandra provides a sentimental, insightful and truthful take on a world where change and tradition and forever at war with one another and a beautiful look at love. Silber's writing flows with an ease and simplicity that makes it a joy to read and she is an extremely accomplished story teller.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


After Anatevka is available to purchase here!

If you enjoy reading book reviews, head over to my book review site: www.livsbookishlife.blogspot.co.uk
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