Monday, August 4, 2008

The Red Scarf

i love to read. so i've decided that maybe i'll just fill you in on things that i read. especially right now because i have a good bit of free time and get to read a lot.

i just finished a great book in about 4 days. i'm really enjoy reading fiction, but it is hard for me to find fiction that i really like. and as a graduate in history, i usually find books that deal with subjects that i find most interesting. this entire year i have been in my russian obsession. this one comes and goes, as do most of my obsessions. anyway, i just finished a biography of catherine the great so i decided to go with a novel on russia under stalin...the red scarf by kate furnivall.
two women are prisoners in a gulag labor camp in siberia. they have been bonded together through hardship and near death experiences. to distract them from their lives in the camp, anna tells sofia stories of growing up as a wealthy aristocrat in st. petersburg with her best friend, vasily. vasily becomes their hero through the memories of anna's childhood and makes the long, bitter days a little easier. when anna becomes sick, sofia realizes she won't make it through another harsh siberian winter and decides that she has to escape. she has to find her way to the small village of tivil, to vasily who is living under an assumed name. together they will come back for her.

after months of hiding and traveling, she makes her way to the small town, where she is cared for by a gypsy family. she finds who she believes is anna's childhood friend, only she falls in love with him and can't help but feel like she is stealing the man anna has been in love with her entire life. together, they have trouble just making it through the days with the harsh conditions of stalin's government but they are going to have to dig even deeper to somehow make it back to anna before it is too late. 

i loved this book. first off it is just well written. i'm really picky about novels because a lot of them are cheesy but this one was amazing. and historically, it was interesting and true. it gives an insight into rural life in communist russia and how even the smallest of villages is not safe from the all-seeing eye of the motherland. you feel like at any moment you are going to get caught reading the book and somehow be implicated in the fictional activities. at the end, the events do start to happen much more quickly, as though the author realized it was getting too long and had to wrap it up, but it wasn't to the point that it ruined the story. all in all...great book.

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