Evocative and compelling, rich in imagination and atmosphere, Under This Unbroken Sky is a beautifully wrought debut from a gifted new novelist.
Spring 1938. After nearly two years in prison for the crime of stealing his own grain, Ukrainian immigrant Teodor Mykolayenko is a free man. While he was gone, his wife, Maria; their five children; and his sister, Anna, struggled to survive on the harsh northern Canadian prairie, but now Teodor—a man who has overcome drought, starvation, and Stalin's purges—is determined to make a better life for them. As he tirelessly clears the untamed land, Teodor begins to heal himself and his children. But the family's hopes and newfound happiness are short-lived. Anna's rogue husband, the arrogant and scheming Stefan, unexpectedly returns, stirring up rancor and discord that will end in violence and tragedy.
Under This Unbroken Sky is a mesmerizing tale of love and greed, pride and desperation, that will resonate long after the last page is turned. Shandi Mitchell has woven an unbearably suspenseful story, written in a language of luminous beauty and clarity. Rich with fiery conflict and culminating in a gut-wrenching climax, this is an unforgettably powerful novel from a passionate new voice in contemporary literature.
An immigrant Ukrainian family suffers unrelenting hardship on the tundra of late 1930s western Canada in this grim frontier tale. Thrown in prison for two years for helping himself to some of his own grain after defaulting on a homesteading contract, Ukrainian immigrant Theo Mykolayenko must deal with his nearly destitute wife and children. His oldest son helps to plow and plant fields owned by Theo's sister, Anna, who is married to Stefan, a wayward and violent military man. Theo's long-suffering wife, Maria, is tireless in caring for her family, nurturing the garden that feeds them and mending every stitch of clothing they wear. Meanwhile, unhappy Anna, pregnant with a child she does not want, is beguiled by the howling coyotes that surround the homestead at night. The extended family survives fire, dust storms, cold and hunger, only to face a nastier enemy much closer to home. This ambitious novel, full of the minutiae of the savage existence of a frontier family, comprises a harsh picture of lives lived in an unforgiving landscape, though some readers may find themselves wishing for an occasional break from the grinding woe. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.