Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book Review: The Endless Steppe

Title: The Endless Steppe
Author: Esther Hautzig
1st published: 1968
Genre: Auto biography
My rating: 5/5

"It is June 1941. The Rudomin family has been arrested by the Russians. THey are "capitalists- enemies of the people." Forced from their home and friends in Vilna, Poland, they are hearded into crowded cattle cars. Their destination: the endless steppe of Siberia.
For five years, Esther and her family live in exile, weeding potato fields and working in the mines, struggling for enough food and clothing to stay alive. Only the strength of family sustains them and gives them hope for the future." -back of the book

I love this story because it is true, sad, funny, and tells about life for Jews in Russia during WWII. While there is hardship it also has some humorous stories, and things that where not funny then, but are now.

I love Esther. I identify with her character a lot. I have not been banished to Siberia, but I know that I would probably deal with it the way she did(though not as well).

"The flatness of the land was awesome. There wasn't a hill in sight; it was enormous, unrippled sea of parched and lifeless grass.
"Tata, why is the earth so flat here?"
"These must be the steppes, Esther."
" Steppes? But the steppes are in Siberia."
"This is Siberia," he said quietly.
If I had been told that I had been transported to the moon I could not have been more stunned.
" Siberia?" My voice trembled. "But Siberia si full of snow."
"It will be," my father said.
Siberia! Siberia was the end of the world, a point of no return. Siberia was for Criminals and political enemies, where the punishment was unbelievably cruel, and where people died like flies. Siberia was the tundra and mountainous drifts of snow. Siberia was wolves.
I had been careless. I had neglected to pray to God to save us from a gypsum mine in Siberia." -this is an excerpt from the book.

This is one of my favorite passages. It is very descriptive and creates wonderful images in the mind. You can see and feel the shock of this news that she was in Siberia!

"There is one adjective that the quality of this book demands-it is magnificent" -Publishers Weekly


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