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Sydney via Siberia Paperback – 7 May 2021
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On a midsummer's night in 1941, a family is illegally arrested, by order of Stalin, in cosmopolitan Rīga, Latvia, and deported in cattle wagons to the frozen wilderness of Siberia.
Sixty years later, the son, Laimonis aka Lucky, now an actor, visits Sydney and recounts the events to his long-lost sister, Māra, and her household. Māra, an architect, missed out on arrest and suffers survivor guilt. Her son, Andy, is a depressive musician and her daughter, Zinta, a wayward activist, their problems probably effects of the initial trauma. There are many family secrets, and a mysterious old man who spooks Lucky in the supermarket. Lucky's tale helps each family member reach some stability.
This is a fast-paced and informative novel about survival, resilience, family and love, appealing to anyone interested in how history shapes us, or in their Latvian heritage.
'I loved your book so much, maybe because of my parents' similar experiences. Can hardly believe people are so resilient.' (Laura Morwood)
'Really enjoyed Sydney via Siberia-a good mix of the Siberian horror and other, current themes. The characters are believable, although a little eccentric, which makes them interesting and typically Latvian.' (Silvia Sarac)
'Engaging and interesting and a good read despite the difficult subject.' (Linda McInally)
'A captivating story relevant to many contemporary Australians-a displaced family holding onto a rich cultural heritage and past struggles.' (Linda Hopkins)
'A complex, four-part focus ... and stories that sprawl across more than half a century and much of the planet are all handled very engagingly ... Pace is kept mostly cracking through switching perspective and narrative interest ... You cover a lot of issues with a light but deft touch while still fashioning an enjoyable read. That's not easy, so congratulations.' (Tom Flood)
About the Author
- Publisher : MoshPit Publishing (7 May 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 268 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1922628069
- ISBN-13 : 978-1922628060
- Dimensions : 15.19 x 1.55 x 22.91 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 36,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Sixty years later her younger brother, Laimonis, (Lucky) after surviving Siberia twice, comes to Sydney to share his story with his sister, now, an internationally acclaimed architect, and her children, Andy the professional musician about to have a melt-down, and Zinta, the university drop out and activist, forever running, searching for a purpose in life. The story is driven by Lucky's narration of his horror Siberia story. This line of tension, like a musical score runs counterpoint to Andy’s story, Zinta’s story and Mara’s story. The last scenes are of Mara in Siberia where the atrocities of the past are hidden under a ‘new’ affluent city in Siberia. The reader is drawn into the intergenerational fall-out from the atrocities of deportation that occurred all over the European countries given away to Stalin as a reward for assisting the Americans and British win the war. Tens of millions, maybe hundreds of millions died in Siberia and in prisons across those countries. At the same time the characters reveal the powerful resilience of this family, all of whom are struggling. By the end of Laimoni’s narration, they have begun to face the issues from their past and the trauma inherited by them, and are ready to move on.
This book is well-structured and beautifully written. The complex, believable characters drew me in immediately. I read the book in three days and recommend it, not just to Latvians but also to all those people whos’ lives changed forever with Soviet Occupation, and those who had no idea it was happening. If you want to read the first pages before buying and cannot access it on Amazon, go to the publisher’s site Indiemosh.com.au