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Lovely Tribute to Ukranian Customs, Mysticism and Culture
on April 27, 2012
It's certainly appreciated to finally find a novel so lovingly written about the Ukranian immigrant experience. Growing up in my Baltimore MD home, where my father was Ukranian, I couldn't wait to read The Silence of Trees by Valya Dudycz Lupescu, and it was a pleasure to identify with so much of what she described, as I recalled my father's heritage. Of course, my father instilled in me a sensitivity to the "soul" of the Ukranian culture, which is very seriously connected to the Greek Catholic or Eastern Christian religious traditions and the Julian calendar. Although Lupescu brushes the religious traditions by describing the familiar Easter customs, there was no mention of why the Christmas scene occurs after New Year's Day, which is, of course, as it should be in the Julian calendar. Also, she could help her readers a bit by describing some of the religious icons in the Chicago house. Many icons and their artists have stories, as well. Belief in mysticism is pervasive among many Ukranians, but it is often rooted in religious folklore as well as in nature. Realistically, Lupescu captures the sense of guilt pervasive among Ukranians, even as they focus on joyful family customs adorned by a fervent connection to folk lore, passed down by word of mouth through the generations. I sincerely thank Lupescu for writing this story, because Ukranian history seems to be disappearing in the American melting pot. Hopefully, her well told story will generate more interest in segmenting out the fascinating Ukranian culture from other immigrant groups, also with worthwhile histories to be told.