Friday, February 12, 2010
"The Red Scarf", by kate Furnivall
This is an epic that expertly creates the atmosphere of the time and place, an admirable work of historical fiction that vividly transports the reader to a Siberian labour camp during the 1930’s. The novel portrays the hardships endured by the detainees while dramatizing the convictions that motivated the Soviet leaders and the resistance.
The story is the ultimate will to survive of Sofia and her friend Anna while incarcerated in a desolate work camp in the frozen Russian taiga. Their only relieve to the rigid and cruel life of endless work and starvation is the storytelling of Anna’s growing up in a charming life and about her childhood friend Vasily who she is desperately yearning for. It is at this time that Sofia vows to escape, find Vasily and come back to save Anna.
The bold escape is somewhat unrealistic but nevertheless a riveting and suspenseful journey across the desolate tundra. She eventually ends up in Tivil, where a gypsy partisan shelters her and nurses her back to health. Sofia faces one dilemma after another and many twists and turns along the way but eventually finds Vasily. The pace of the story never lets up even when more and more complications arise with the introduction of Aleksei Fomanko but Sofia is relentless in her quest to fulfill her promise to Anna.
This is a unique and engrossing story based around the troubled times of Soviet Russia told with a stunning narrative and amazing characterization. It is a wonderful novel that I highly recommend.