Sunday 2 July 2017

Book Review: After Anatevka by Alexandra Silber

Title: After Anatevka
Author: Alexandra Silber 
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication Date: 4 July 2017
Pages: 256
Format: eBook - EPUB
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley

The world knows well the tale of Tevye, the beloved Jewish dairyman from the shtetl Anatevka of Tsarist Russia. In stories originally written by Sholem Aleichem and then made world-famous in the celebrated musical Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye, his wife Golde, and their five daughters dealt with the outside influences that were encroaching upon their humble lives. But what happened to those remarkable characters after the curtain fell?
In After Anatevka, Alexandra Silber picks up where Fiddler left off. Second-eldest daughter Hodel takes center stage as she attempts to join her Socialist-leaning fiancĂ© Perchik to the outer reaches of a Siberian work camp. But before Hodel and Perchik can finally be together, they both face extraordinary hurdles and adversaries—both personal and political—attempting to keep them apart at all costs.
A love story set against a backdrop of some of the greatest violence in European history, After Anatevaka is a stunning conclusion to a tale that has gripped audiences around the globe for decades. (Goodreads Synopsis)

After Anatevka is a book sure to delight literary-inclined musical theatre fans. It's clear that Silber has a great passion for the characters; it shows in her wonderful portrayal of them. Two of them, anyway. It may have been a mistake to say "what happened to those remarkable characters" in the blurb because, in truth, we only really see two of them: Hodel and Perchik. There are references to the others, but mostly in an historic sense, so this is really a continuation of Hodel's story, not that of the entire family. That didn't worry me, though, since Hodel was always my favourite and I found it exciting to read how Silber envisaged her future. This is not a happy tale by any means, but it is an engaging one that takes into account the political and social situation in Russia at the time. Overall, this book will appeal mostly to fans of the musical; however, there is also a potential readership among historical fiction fans since you could still get something out of the story without knowing the musical. Though, knowledge of the show's plot will, of course, help.

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