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.
"Anya is a myth, an epic...[by] a writer of remarkable power." (Washington Post)
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
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.
The narrator did an amazing job of portraying many different characters just through her voice! Much richer narration than any other Audible book I've listened to so far. Although parts of the story are horrible (of course) I loved hearing Anya's story in her own words. She seemed so real to me that I Googled "Anya" to find out if this was based on a real person. While some reviewers have said that there were too many details, I loved all the details! I felt like I was right there in her home with her.
I really enjoyed hearing the names of people, places and things. When I read a story I try to say the names in that language in my head, and usually fail. When I listened to "Anya" I didn't have to do that work, and so I was more able to immerse myself in the story. I loved Mazur's narration - she did a wonderful job of bringing all the characters to life, like Nanushka's toddler voice and Farah, as well as Anya.
Of course, it made me cry. More than once.
I could not pick a favorite character... they are all well-drawn.
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
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.
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.
100% of the books I read are in audible format. I enjoy reading apocalyptic, WWII, psychology, classics, contemporary and non-fiction.
Excellent epic novel about a holocaust survivor. It is unique because it is written as a stream of consciousness and it is one of the most detailed books I've ever read, and the reader REALLY gets to know Anya. This novel is extremely well researched and is just plain impressive.along with the narration -- equally impressive. My first introduction to Susan Fromberg Schaeffer novels.
I did not read the print version of this story.
I have just finished another book called the Storyteller which was similar in that it talked about Nazi Germany and the atrocities involving the Jews. Neither was based on a true story but both books were very believable.
My favorite character was Ninka, the little Jewish girl, in the story.
The book is very long and could not be listened to in one sitting.
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