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The Little Russian Hardcover – February 21, 2012
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"In The Little Russian, Susan Sherman offers much more than an eloquently gripping narrative set against an explosive backdrop. She is inviting us to consider the too-often unsung heroines of history, the women whose ferocious willpower and dazzling ingenuity can be more potent than gunpowder when it comes to changing the world." The Los Angeles Review of Books
"Sherman’s extraordinary debut novel plunges her readers into the bitter cold, deprivation, and upheaval of early 20th-century wartime Russia. Berta is a fascinating mix of petty vanity, devoted parenting, and breathtaking courage, fleshed out with cinematic detail that’s both irresistible and spectacularly illuminating. All fiction readers will enjoy." Library Journal (starred)
"Entrancing, meticulously researched . . . The Little Russian is a masterful study of one woman’s fight to stay afloat and alive in an era in which governance was consolidated with oppression and barbarism . . . Sherman keeps us guessing as to whether her heroine can make it over the border to be reunited with her given-up-for-lost Hershel, and we devour the last pages greedily."Malcolm Forbes, Rain Taxi
"Powerful, harrowing and richly atmospheric, Susan Sherman's unflinching debut novel captures the enduring light of the human spirit when faced with the darkness of unimaginable loss. It follows the journey of Berta Alshonsky, a Jewish woman who falls from the ranks of European high society during the pogroms and must struggle to keep her children alive in the depths of war-torn Russia. The Little Russian provides an astonishing look at life for many Russian Jews throughout this time in history. It’s a captivating read told through a voice we won't soon forget." Ilie Ruby, author of The Language of Trees
"[An] impressive debut . . . Sherman’s sweeping saga works on multiple levels, from its grim depiction of war’s depredations to its harsh portrayals of anti-Semitism to its fiery love story. A mesmerizing read." Booklist (starred)
"An impressive fiction debut with an epic tale of war’s transformative effects on one Russian woman and her family." Publishers Weekly
"Moving and smart, The Little Russian is a sweeping tale of survival, loss, love, loyalty, family, religion, racism, and war. Susan Sherman masterfully blends history into fiction, delivering a self-assured, elegant debut." Victoria Patterson, author of This Vacant Paradise
"If Margaret Mitchell and Isaac Bashevis Singer had a baby, it would be The Little Russian. It's impossible not to be deeply impressed by this sweeping portrait of Russia during the pogroms, but it is even more impossible not to be moved by this fiery and deeply human love story. A moving and brilliantly researched debut, I just loved it." Sheri Holman, author of The Dress Lodger
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Top Customer Reviews
an affluent married life, abandonment, the Russian Revolution, resourceful entrepreneurship, with a cliffhanger of an ending - and so much more. Sherman is a solid story teller who knows how to maneuver her plot twists for prime effect. She's particularly striking with her descriptions of the pogroms, capturing their violence with a stark and vivid chill. And writing about a thwarted shtetl attack, the author has you marveling at the logistical strategy of its prime mover.
There are times, though, when the indication of a novelist's debut is all too clear. Too often, Sherman's prose style clunks along in standard expository style. Too much description bogs down several incidents and her language isn't original enough to justify her trite and wordy prose. You can sense the strain of her setting up a scene, and a few of her characterizations are drawn so boldly as to be melodramatic. And she's the kind of a writer who feels it necessary to write a simple declaration similar to "don't do that anymore," then append an obvious "she said sternly." (that's not an exact quote, but it expresses the bluntness of her writing.)
Do not let the qualifications prevent you from reading The Little Russian. They are (relatively) minor to a reader's overall enjoyment. Like a mother's favorite dessert which doesn't always come out quite right, the novel is still a deeply satisfying read and something to truly savor.
This book is like mind melding with someone through all their memories, it is the very essence of the heart and soul. Couldn't put the book down.
All this seemed very melodramatic to me. The author often talks about her wet and frozen feet and paints a portrait of a harsh and unforgiving landscape. Jews are often the victims of pogroms and are robbed and murdered,. In many ways the character is just too good to be true which is one of the reasons why I found this book a little simplistic for my taste. There are constant hardships but there was no doubt in my mind that the book would have a happy ending.
This is not a great book but it is an easy and fast read. New challenges happen on every page and there is never a dull moment.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A beautifully written tale of a woman's love for her children and the lengths she would go to try to protect after their fall from a life of safety privilege and wealth. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Dorothy Thieneman
The story is great and very timely. It takes place in Russia in the early 20th Century. Civil War- Refugees- Migrations. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Good Read. I enjoyed this book. It moved steady. There weren't no big surprises yet it wasn't predictable either. Good writing.Published 5 months ago by Jacqueline
This book provides a background of Russian history that concerned people from the Ukraine and other surrounding areas that used to be a part of Russian. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Geraldine Gallegos
A little hard to follow the characters if you didn't read the whole book at one sitting. But enlightening since I just traveled to Russia in 2014.Published 11 months ago by Sandra F. Orluk
Great historical fiction about a place, people and a war that I never knew. It revolves around a women who is strong, smart and in denial, a lot of time, about what is going on... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Nancy
I liked this book. The story did not go as I expected it to and it gave me a lot of insight into peasant life and Jewish life in Russia before WWII.Published 14 months ago by Practical Reader