Wave of Terror - Theodore Odrach, Erma Odrach NO SPOILERS!
Finished: My concluding thoughts on this novel, which actually is very close to a memoir, become a single question - how would YOU feel to live your life never knowing whom to trust? Think about it. You can trust NOBODY...... The dialogue strikes me more as being the text of drama, rather than that of a novel. Very unsettling!

Through Page 232: I am a member of the group Historical Fictionistas, which is great! We have threads where we "Share A Blurb". There is one where you pick a paragraph from page 42. Here is what I quoted from this page:

Pausing to take some tea, after a moment he started up again. "Oh, the heart of a young man, it's like the spring rain, it will pour for about a month, then by summer everything will dry up. And so it goes. Their household has fallen apart completely and now poverty has consumed them like fleas on a dog.Everything Paraska touches turns to smoke and dust. That is the kind of daughter-in-law I have, as useless as an old shoe."

From this paragraph you get an idea of the type of language used.

I am much further through the book, and what I notice is that I am constantly questioning everyone's opinions. The Soviets are frightening and yet at the same time so bizarrely stupid that you can hardly be anything but amuused. So I don't know who are the bad guys and who are the good guys. OK, Kulik is good, but he too makes mistakes. This tends to be very confusing/disturbing to me. For example you are sure that something terrible is going to happen - and then BINGO nothing happens and all ends up rosy and the "bad" Soviets prove to be in fact very understanding and reasonable. In this case.... Then 5 pages later all hell breaks loose. This leads to a rollercoaster ride. Maybe the author wants us to feel this way; the total insecurity of the times becomes so very real to the reader. To the terror is added the insecurity and almost bizarre comedy of what plays out. This is disturbing b/c it occurs at such an extreme level.

Through chapter 10, page 100: I continue to enjoy this book. I enjoy the writing style which has an abruptness that I find very realistic and characteristic of Russian literature. There is no fooling around - people say what they have to say. A confict is rarely avoided. At the same time one learned to keep quiet when speaking would get you in grave trouble. You don't play around with being sent to a gulag in Archangel! Here is an example of a dialog:

"Kulik (the main protagonist and schoolteacher), feeling tremendously insulted, spoke up, intending to put the poet (Nikolai) in his place: 'Nikolai Nikitich, have you ever gone to the zoo?'

Nikolai had never expected such a peculiar question. He crinkled his nose and cleared his throat. 'Er, unfortunately, no.'

Kulik continues: 'Well in Prague I saw a beautiful chimpanzee whose imitation of humans was remarkable. The Czeks named him Potapka, which means imitator. If I might add, there's a striking resemblance."

And you learn, through these people and their exploits. You experience a time that has passed. History affects the future. It is important to understand what others have lived through. I like the Russian manner of singing and drinking and allowing themselves to be people with both good and bad qualities. This makes them real. Stereotypes are just as far from this book as you can get. And I like Kulik b/c he often doesn't knows how to deal with a new situation. He is as blown over by events as you or I would be. He thinks and thinks and sometimes his solutions are so bizarre and yet so perfect! I loved his idea to propose a party....... read the book and you will understand!

Through chapter three: I am thoroughly enjoying this. The language is very direct and straightforward, which I enjoy. What moves youis the tale being told, the quirky characters that feel so real and the humor embedded in the the story line. That what occurs has been seen and experienced by the author firsthand is evident. There are simple village people just trying to cope, There is friendship and kindness, but also others obsessively concerned with their prestige and even a village clown, the laughingstock of all. This takes place in the Pinsk Marshes on the border between what is today Belarussua and the Ukraine, a little after 1939 when the Soviets took this area from Poland imposing the Russian or Belorussian language on people who predominantly spoke Ukranian. That is the setting.

Before starting the book: I feel like I have been let out of prison, the last book I read was horrible and a total waste of time to read. I am so eager to dig into a book with some substance, something you can learn from. Wave of Terror is a novel, but the main protagonist, Ivan Kulik, has many experiences in common with the author. Furthermore the book is translated by the author's youngest daughter. Often when an author dares to write about what lies close to home, the result resonates with veracity and deep emotions. The author had one of his short stories, The Night Before Christmas, included in editor Alberto Manguel's [b:Penguin Book Of Christmas Stories|2304846|Penguin Book Of Christmas Stories|Alberto Manguel|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41b92QhOIBL._SL75_.jpg|8780] along with such author's as Grahame Greene, John Cheever, Vladimir Nabokov and Alice Munro. T. F. Rigelhof, who reviewed Manguel's book for the Globe and Mail, states "When you read Odrach, you realize immediately that you are in the presence of a front-line eyewitness to some of the more casual brutalities of the 20th century.His fictional world feels like the everyday world must have felt for ordinary people living through extraordinary times, as captured by a rigorous investigative reporter of a kind that world would have ruthlessly silenced just as it sought to first shut up, then defame, Solzhenitsyn. Odrach as a writer has been compared not only to Solzhenitsyn in his "investigative reporter style", but also to Chekhov in his ability to "capture the internal drama of his characters". A Globe and Mail article is my source for these opinions. I am quite excited to start this book!