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Anya: A Novel Paperback – February 17, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 489 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (February 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393325210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393325218
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.4 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #696,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“A triumph of realism in art.” (New York Times Book Review)

From the Inside Flap

Anya Karinsky's beautiful life seemed like one long and perfect dream that would spin on forever.
But her wonderful world of dances, travel, medical school, and her beloved family ended one day late in the summer of 1939, when Hitler invaded Poland. The bombs that leveled her Warsaw home that day marked the beginning of her soul-stirring odyssey of endurance and escape, through years of horror and Holocaust. Strong when others grew weak, selfless in pursuit of freedom, Anya, once the beautiful, pampered daughter of privilege, turned herself into a survivor whom nothing and no one could destroy.
"A triumph of realism in art." -- The New York Times Book Review
"ANYA is a myth, an epic, the creation of darkness and of laughter stopped forever . . . . A vision, set down by a fearless, patient poet . . . A writer of remarkable power." -- The Washington Post --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 46 customer reviews
I thought it was such a pity that this book was out of print.
Heather Hays
I only wish I was just starting the book and instead of just finishing it - it is that good!!
Reader From Georgia
I am a bookaholic and this is one of the best books I have ever read.
Desiree A. Bull

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

131 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Heather Hays on July 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I thought it was such a pity that this book was out of print. It is hands down one of the best and most beautifully written books I have ever read. If you have read any of her other work, I've read a lot, this is maybe one of Schaeffer's best, and she is very gifted writer who writes with gorgeously poetic prose.
Anya is a Russian jew who lives in Poland during World War 2. She is a newly wed with a dream about becoming a doctor, when Germany suddenly invades Poland. This book does a 180 and the gentle trivialities and worries of everday life are replaced by a new, cold harsh reality.
You can almost believe that Anya is a real person. She is fallable and human, vulnerable and lovable. You can't help but admire her bravery throughout the story, and this story does not candy coat any part of the horrors these people had to face. Secondhand, and just as well fleshed out are the members of Anya's family, they live and breathe and make you care about them and you feel like you are looking back and remembering with Anya throughout the entire story. This book excellently conveys the warmth of Anya's mother, and her father's quiet, intellectual attitude. They remind me a lot of my Russian teachers.
As a final note, I think this book is not only entertaining but it is a lesson about life and bravery and right and wrong. I found myself thinking about how lucky I was after I finished the story to live somewhere safe and free. This is definetly worth checking out, and I'm ecstatic that it will apparently be back in print again soon. Check here...
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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Alyssa A. Lappen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
Since this book appeared in the 1970s, times have changed. People now hunger for the horrible personal details of life during the Holocaust, as if by learning they can somehow heal the hole in the heart of the world. In the 1970s, rare was the survivor willing to reopen fresh wounds, to expose their hidden pain--and few wanted to hear.

But Anya Brodman, who died in 1996, relived her nightmare in hours and hours of interviews with Susan Fromberg Schaeffer. Although presented as a "novel," the story is largely Anya's--every gory detail, conversation and dream.

Among the many horrors Anya witnessed was the murder of an 11-month-old child, Lutig Klatchko, whose death is depicted in the epilogue. (According to Schaeffer, Anya signed a non-disclosure agreement with her in exchange for a share of the royalties.)

The book reads brilliantly and is hard to put down. "This is Anya's story," says a close friend who heard her story dozens of times 20 years before the novel's appearance. Every detail seems real, because most of it really happened.

Anya's idyllic life in the Vilna school-turned-apartment building, in which Lutig's mother was her neighbor, her vacations in Zakopanie, marriage to Stajoe, life in Warsaw and return to Vilna, her imprisonment in the ghetto, the birth of her child, her incarceration, survival and eventual escape from Kaiserwald, near Riga.

Anya was lucky. She saved herself and her daughter Ninka. Soon after that, her friends were shipped to a far worse prison, a death camp called Stuthoff, near Danzig. Most perished.

Of Anya's friends, the relative handful who survived had no other family left. They lost parents, grandparents, spouses, children, cousins, everyone. Following the death of Lutig's mother last January, only one remains.

--Alyssa A. Lappen
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By D. Hansen on May 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
About a month ago I was down to having only one book left to read. So I surfed on over to Amazon.com and bought 12 books (6 fiction and 6 non-fiction). While there I noticed a novel that I always wanted to read since the 70's, but had forgot all about it over the years. The novel is called "Anya" by Susan Fromberg Schaefer. It was a great read. The story is about a Russian Jewish family that moved to Poland a few years before the 2nd-world war. How magnificent their life was and how caring each member of the family was to each other and their relatives. Then came the Nazi's and imprisonment, and for most death. Anya and her child survive, and they are the only survivors from her family. Anya had to search for her daughter after the war and finally found her. But the striking thing about the novel is the 'based on fact' atrocities performed by the Nazi's. Anya's heroic struggle just to survive and the strong determination she had to search and find her daughter, who was snatched-up by one of the Nazi officer's to become his and his wife's child. The book really affected me deeply and was heart-wrenching, but of course, if you did not have to live through the holocaust yourself, you can never really feel what it was truly like, but author Susan Fromberg Schaeffer does create a reality, because of her knowledge of the subject, that allows you to feel the tragedy that was the holocaust as much as any novel will allow.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lindi Sebena on March 19, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was first introduced to this novel when I was in eighth grade. My librarian at the time pointed it out to me because she knew I was interested in books dealing with the Holocaust. I read the library's copy of Anya so many times that the book began to fall apart. I later got a copy of my own that too fell apart. Susan Fromberg Schaeffer does a phenomenal job of describing what Anya's life is like and how she lives. The book makes you laugh and makes you cry. Each time you read it you come away with the feeling that you have been there with Anya through all her trials and tribulations.
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