Saturday 14 November 2009

Canadian Fiction

Finished November 14
Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell
This novel had me glued to it until I finished it in one sitting. We follow Teodor Mykolayenko and his family from the spring of 1938 until the spring of 1939. The Mykolayenko's are immigrants from the Ukraine, who have settled in Alberta.
Teodor has just returned to his family after a year spent in jail for stealing his own grain. His wife and children have been living in a shed on the land of his sister Anna and her family. Anna has agreed to pay the fee to homestead the land beside her own, with Teodor breaking the land and taking on the ownership of it. He and his family work hard to break and plant the land, build a house and barn, and make a home for themselves.
When Anna's shiftless and cruel husband returns, both families find themselves fighting to defend what they have worked so hard for.
This novel gives a real feel for the difficulty of homesteading, the difficulty of living in a land where you don't speak the language and don't have a support system to assist you. This is a gripping story of a family where each character comes through deeply.

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