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Publisher's Summary

Anya Savikin lived among well-to-do Russian Jews in Poland, in a world more like Tolstoy's than our own, until the first bombing of Warsaw and the chaos that ensued. Her story incarnates the strength and love of Eastern European Jewry, before and after their decimation.
©1974 Susan Fromberg Schaeffer (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Anya is a myth, an epic...[by] a writer of remarkable power." (Washington Post)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Daryl on 06-19-13

Like a good strong cup of coffee

Who was your favorite character and why?

I could not pick a favorite character... they are all well-drawn.

What does Kathe Mazur bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her accents and cadence are perfect! The only real quibble I had was her pronunciation of "Gymnasium", which should be "Gim-Nah-zee-um". Minor quibble aside, she was an incredible choice to read this book

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were many. Scenes from the ghetto, the camps, the dispossession and dislocation... in some ways it moved so quickly that I almost had to skip back to see what I had missed.

Any additional comments?

Like a good strong cup of coffee, this novel is full-bodied, mostly bitter, but with tinges of sugar. The last 1/4 of the book is a bit more hopeful than the first 3/4, just with the levity of the children alone...
All in all, I loved this book, and will check out other of Mrs. Schaeffer's books.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Paula on 05-19-13

A True Life Story in Novel Form

I stumbled on this book via a genre list on Goodreads. . . and was happy to find it available on Audible.

This is not just "another" story of the Jewish experience during Hitler's reign; it is a GREAT true story of one woman's experience that has been written as novel.

Anya Brodman died in 1996. This novel relieves her years-long nightmare as a young Russian Jew who moved to Poland with her family prior to the outbreak of WWII. Her wonderful family was slowly but surely decimated; their upper middle-class station ripped from under them as her father, brothers and husband were slaughtered. Anya, her daughter and mother suffered in a Jewish Ghetto and just before Anya and her mother were forced to board the train to the labor camps, where Anya and her mother were parted, Anya made the wrenching decision to give her young 3-year old daughter to a Gentile, in hopes that the child's life would be spared.

This is a wrenching story. Part I is a narrative of Anya's family and life before the war. It was idyllic. From there the story follows her decisions, deceptions and horrendous life; sometimes in gory detail; as she prevails. Anya's story reveals her fallibility, her wounds and pain, some of from which she was never able to recover.

I was immediately engaged with this story because of the superb narration. Kathe Mazur did a marvelous job throughout. It is a long story, but one that is brilliantly written and told. Anya's story is one of a heroic struggle just to survive and reveals her character and determination.

There is little to criticize, however I would offer this note: There were elements of the story that provided so much detail that I wished for less; and there were elements of the story presented with little detail and I wished for more. This minor fault does not diminish its value nor my recommendation to consider putting this one in your library.

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16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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