Tuesday, July 28, 2009
UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY by Shandi Mitchell
I got a copy of UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY through the Barnes and Noble First Look program. At first glance, I wasn't sure about this one. It sounded a little depressing and I have had more than my fair share of dark and depressing books lately.
UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY follows the struggles of a Ukrainian family living in Canada in the Spring of 1938. Teodor Mykolayenko has just been released from two years in prison for the crime of stealing his own grain. He returns home in the hope of rebuilding his family and their dream of a better life. What follows is a heartwrenching story of a family struggling to put itself back together in the face of terrible adversity.
I could not put this book down. I was instantly drawn in by this family. After the first page, you know that tragedy will befall these individuals before the year is out. As the story progressed, I looked for clues as to the inevitable outcome of the story. The characters were so well-drawn and I found myself rooting for this family to succeed against all odds. The reader shares each and every heartbreak with the characters. I found myself angry and frustrated at the end of the book not because of the story itself but because of the injustice that life sometimes offers us.
I think the author put it best when she said, "the story [is] about life, in all its beauty and savagery. It was about the moral lines that divide and join us. What is remembered and what is forgotten. And the fine line between those who break and those who don't."
This book will be released in September 2009.
BOTTOM LINE: Recommended. This is a very powerful and moving book. The characters are all very well-developed and engaging. A truly wonderful debut novel.