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Wave of Terror Paperback – January 1, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Set in 1939 during the Red Army invasion of Belarus, it tells the story of Ivan Kulik the headmaster of School Number Seven in Hlaby, a small rural village in the Pinsk marshes. Through Kulik's eyes we see exactly how the soviet regime could cast its gloomy shadow over such a small village as the villagers are terrorised and crippled with fear at the very presence of the NKVD (People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs) who may show up at any time and take away those they label as subversives to the Zovty Prison to be interrogated which in that time meant a severe beating and even execution.Read more ›
Originally written in Ukrainian and published as Voshchad' (Incipient dawn) in Toronto in 1972, this edition was translated into English by Erma Odrach, the author's daughter. The story is based on Odrach's personal experiences and was written to expose the horrors of Stalinist Russia, but now reads as historical fiction.
The novel is best at portraying the people and their behavior as they struggle to adapt and survive under changing and unjust conditions. Particularly well done is Ivan's infatuation with the lovely Marusia, and her uncaring response as she tries hard to adjust to the new Russian social environment that Ivan disdains.
With this description young Ivan Kulik, newly appointed village school headmaster, introduces the events of 1939 in Hlaby, his village in the Pinsk Marshes - a region straddling the border between Ukraine in the south and Belorussia in the north. What follows is an extraordinary story, a social portrait of a community struggling to survive in the face of constantly mounting and increasingly violent Soviet interference in the lives of the villagers. By focusing on one village and a limited group of primary characters, Theodore Odrach takes the historical facts onto a very personal and intricate level, building empathy and understanding in the reader who is captivated early on and will remain engaged until the end of the novel and beyond.
Odrach's characters are lively and personable, realistically captured in their daily lives and their new, at times conflicting, emotions. Many are torn between willingness to collaborate with the occupiers, anticipating personal advantage within a Soviet system, or maintaining a more or less neutral attitude, risking being labelled nationalist or even traitor, thereby endangering their livelihood and even survival. As the harassment and brutal attacks multiply, and random arrests, disappearances and arbitrary killings are witnessed more frequently, ignoring reality is almost impossible. Propaganda and reality could not be further apart.Read more ›
Odrach sets his story in Hlaby, in the Pinsk Marshes, an enormous marshland which extends into Poland, Belarus, and the Ukraine. Its people are subsistence farmers who have grown up speaking, first, Polish, and later Ukrainian. When the Stalinists arrive in 1939, however, they announce that henceforth this village will be part of the Belarus Soviet Socialist Republic. All their schools will be taught in Belarussian, and all their business dealings will be in Belarussian, despite the fact that no one in the area speaks that language, knows it, or can teach it. The penalties for non-compliance are extreme, an absurdity which is continued forward throughout the novel. The largest farm in the area is collectivized, its owner beaten to death. The innocent people employed on that farm are under suspicion of subversion. All churches and temples are outlawed.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not only a fascinating novel, but also seems like a highly credible description of life under the Soviets. Read morePublished 2 months ago by taras
For those interested in Ukrainian (and surrounding areas) history, good book.Published 20 months ago by Amazon Customer
Wave of Terror by Theodore Odrach (translated by Erma Odrach) is a quiet, vivid book that creeps up on you with a subtle, powerful voice. Read morePublished on September 21, 2011 by A. F. Stewart
Wave of Terror by Theodore Odrach is set in the region of Ukraine in 1939 at the very start of the reign of the USSR. Read morePublished on March 16, 2011 by bookworm3390
Talk about a timely book! This novel is based on Theodore Odrach's own life when Stalin's Red Army came in to power in Belarus. Read morePublished on December 22, 2010 by Meg Sumner
A good was-there glimpse of the Soviet takeover of Belarus and history of the Ukraine. But a literary masterpiece it is not, if only because so unfiniished.Published on November 7, 2010 by J. Rodeck
For reasons of disclosure, I should reveal beforehand that the translator of this book, Erma Odrach, has asked me to review it. Read morePublished on July 29, 2010 by M. A. Krul
"Wave of Terror" by Ukrainian Theodore Odrach was written between 1953 and 1964 and translated by his daughter, Erma Odrach. She grew up under the shadow of her father's writing. Read morePublished on July 20, 2010 by Judy K. Polhemus
In our post-Soviet world, perhaps especially in the US, where the current fashion is to apologize for all America's past faults, real and imagined, distaste for the Russian flavor... Read morePublished on July 1, 2010 by Kelly L. Norman