Thriller set around the mouth of the Saint Lawrence river – QUEBEC
Dual timeline novel set in 1930s UKRAINE and 2004 ILLINOIS
25th June 2022
The Memory Keeper of Kyiv by Erin Litteken, dual timeline novel set in 1930s Ukraine and 2004 Illinois.
This of course is a very poignant and relevant read, given what is happening in Ukraine now, 2022. It is also really worth reading the author’s impassioned #TalkingLocationWith... piece – here – which sets the novel in context and really highlights the background issues.
Around 1930 Stalin focussed on Ukraine, with its rich and productive soil that he wanted for Russian use. He introduced the notion of collective farms, gathering the produce for the good of everyone, but clearly he did not have the well-being of the locals at heart. This resulted in a widespread famine and the death of millions. Echoes of today? Absolutely right. If you didn’t acquiesce, you were summarily despatched to a camp or killed on the spot and caught up in this is young Katya and her family. They witness horrors whilst trying to hold things together.
In 2004 Cassie has suffered the terrible death of her husband, which has traumatised their child. She decides to move in with her Grandmother and there discovers the story of family and the tragedy that befell the Ukrainians in the early 20th Century.
The author is skilled at conjuring up the characters, often set against dismal times. Her family of origin is from Ukraine and the passion with which she wants to engage her readers, give them understanding through fiction of iniquity and family trauma, is palpable.
A very good debut novel.
Tina for the TripFiction Team
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