By Chaim Potok
Amazon.com overview Potok, renowned for his novels of Jewish kinfolk existence corresponding to *The Chosen*, turns to nonfiction in *The Gates of November*, a wrenching kin chronicle with a riveting old undercurrent. the tale of the kin patriarch, Solomon Slepak, spans many of the e-book: ignoring his mother's want that he develop into a rabbi, Slepak emigrated at thirteen to the USA, grew to become a Marxist in big apple, lower back to struggle within the Russian Revolution, and rose to prominence in the Communist get together. yet whereas Solomon remained a confident Bolshevik, his son Volodya rejected socialism whilst anti-Semitism emerged in the course of Stalin's period. Disowned through his father, Volodya was once later exiled to Siberia as a dissident. the tale of the Slepaks is concurrently the tale of Soviet Jewry and the increase and fall of the Soviet Union. From Publishers Weekly Novelist Potok (The selected) provides right here the historical past of a family members of Soviet Jews established at the courting of pop and son. Solomon Slepak was once an old-guard Bolshevik who by no means misplaced his religion within the party?and survived the Stalinist purges miraculously and mysteriously (Stalin exterminated just about all previous social gathering members). His son, Volodya, grew up believing within the occasion yet, as he married and commenced elevating a relatives, got here to query the Communist method and finally turned a refusenik, a dissident who protested brazenly opposed to the regime. the writer met Volodya and his spouse, Masha, in 1985 whereas on a visit to Moscow. This compelling account, that is additionally a chronicle of the Soviet dissident circulation, highlights the heroism, and sacrifice, of these who face up to the ability of a totalitarian nation. (Nov.) FYI: The name comes from a line of poetry by way of Aleksandr Pushkin. Copyright 1996 Reed enterprise info, Inc.
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Additional info for The Gates of November: Chronicles of the Slepak Family
Masha Slepak held her glass, looking intently at Adena and at me. There was something about the way she was watching us, as if her eyes were categorizing, filing, storing things away. Her brother and sister-in-law, who apparently knew no more English than Masha, stood with their drinks, bewildered and somewhat apprehensive over Volodya’s exuberance. And the nephew seemed utterly confounded by the glass of vodka thrust into his hand. The seven of us emptied our glasses to seal our moment of meeting, and returned them to the tray.
This was, after all, a picture for posterity, marking a high moment of public celebration. Other photographs mark suffering and death. There is an intriguing photograph that invites us to contemplate the miracle of a pogrom mysteriously averted: The synagogue in Mstislavl, built in the first half of the seventeenth century, stands tall and boldly peaked against a whitish sky, its destruction suddenly halted by Tsar Peter the Great, who, on entering the city with troops in 1708, visited the synagogue and mysteriously and abruptly ordered his soldiers to cease their plundering and killing of Jews.
She gazed at us with a wan, myopic look and a distant smile. Our formal introduction to the family was brief. “Here are people from America come to visit us,” was all Volodya Slepak said. There were polite handshakes. No one asked our names. The atmosphere in the room was disquieting; it seemed to quiver with barely suppressed apprehension. ” Probably in the course of this evening the question would be answered without ever being asked. It was a desperate way for people like these to sustain life and hope: through strangers dropping in from the sky.
The Gates of November: Chronicles of the Slepak Family by Chaim Potok