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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.

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Daryl
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 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...<br/>All in all, I loved this book, and will check out other of Mrs. Schaeffer's books.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Paula
  • Overland Park, KS USA
  • 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.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Loved this book! So rich with details!

What made the experience of listening to Anya the most enjoyable?

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.

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

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.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Of course, it made me cry. More than once.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Starlet
  • SAN CARLOS, CA, United States
  • 08-24-13

Lengthy memoir that flies by with good reading

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sandra
  • DERBY, NEW YORK, United States
  • 07-29-13

Persecution

Would you consider the audio edition of Anya to be better than the print version?

I did not read the print version of this story.

What other book might you compare Anya to and why?

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.

Which character – as performed by Kathe Mazur – was your favorite?

My favorite character was Ninka, the little Jewish girl, in the story.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

The book is very long and could not be listened to in one sitting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Short Review Long Book

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Hard to imagine who may enjoy this book, as I found it extremely long winded. If you are person who enjoys exacting and tedious irrevelant details you may enjoy this book.<br/>

Would you be willing to try another one of Kathe Mazur’s performances?

Questionable

Any additional comments?

I have never written a review and will likely not write many more, but found this book extremely painful to listen to.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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I just did not like this book

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I just could not get into this book. The main character is very unpleasant - whining and self centered throughout. The performer was very shrill and whining which only added to the unpleasant tone of the main character. <br/>The story dragged and bogged down in detail. I disliked the way the main character managed to survive many parts of the holocaust in unrealistic and ridiculous ways. <br/>I gave up about 3/4 of the way through. This just wasn't for me.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • K&T
  • USA
  • 01-07-17

Amazing, amazing book!

I've read thousands of books.......this one is truly an amazing, epic , realistic work of fiction of surviving WW2. Spellbinding!

  • Overall

Excellent

This book had me feeling like I was there during our worst time in history. What a survivor

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Never Ending

What did you like best about Anya? What did you like least?

There were a few good descriptions of Anya's wartime experiences<br/><br/>It was needlessly long.

Was Anya worth the listening time?

NO

Any additional comments?

Where were the editors? This story could have been told in 5 hours, not 29.