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3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  1,146 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
Anya Karinsky's beautiful life seemed like one long and perfect dream that would spin on forever.

But her wonderful world of dances, travel, medical school, and her beloved family ended one day late in the summer of 1939, when Hitler invaded Poland. The bombs that leveled her Warsaw home that day marked the beginning of her soul-stirring odyssey of endurance and escape, thr
Paperback, 512 pages
Published February 17th 2004 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1974)
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(showing 1-30)
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I don't know if the publisher was scrimping on printing costs but the type of the edition I read was so small it hurt my eyes - and add to that the dialogue isn't broken up by new paragraphs when a new speaker talks and what you get are huge blocks of typescript on every page. The most reader unfriendly novel I’ve ever read. Printed in a normal size font and with conventional paragraph breaks this book would probably run to at least 700 pages. Way too long, in other words.

The danger signs are t
Jul 12, 2010 Chrissie rated it really liked it
Recommended to Chrissie by: Lisa Vegan

Finished: Most of us have read about the genocide of Jews in WW2, so why read another book on this subject? What will it give the reader that the others haven't? First of all the crimes of WW2 are just so mind boggling that there is no definitive answer. There is always more to consider. I will say it right off, it was the author's style of writing that made this book different from the others I have read. I enjoyed the mix of happiness and unbelievable horror. I cannot swallow JUST h
Lisa Vegan
May 13, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of good novels, those interested in the Holocaust
This was a wonderful, epic type novel, taking place during the holocaust. The main protagonist is a young educated Jewish woman, and it's about all that she goes through before, during, and after the Nazi regime. It was really gripping and suspenseful and I cared about her and some of the other characters also. One of my favorite novels.

On my latest reread:

It’s always hardest for me to review the books I love the most. I first read this book in about 1976, and had read it another time or two or
Nov 22, 2009 Mary rated it it was amazing
I read this book many years ago as a teenager. It's a book that takes some concentration to get through with achingly long descriptions. However, without the descriptions you cannot appreciate the rest. This was the first book I had ever read about the Halocaust. It is very vivid and your mind's eye opens to place you with Anya throughout her life. Her suffering is shocking and yet many other details remind you she is more than a victim. You follow her from childhood through adulthood with a dau ...more
I struggled with rating this book - truly would give a 3.5 if GR had half stars.

Anya was a true saga of a book, that starts when the primary character is a child and carries through well into her adulthood. It is a book of WWII, and the first I read about the German occupation of Poland and also the first I read (view spoiler)

The book was very touching overall, filled with strength, survival, and most of
Susan Harkins
Jul 26, 2013 Susan Harkins rated it it was amazing
Read it when it first came out and it remains to this day as one of my favorites.
Tracie Donnell
Jan 18, 2012 Tracie Donnell rated it it was amazing
I first read this in about 1977, and it has returned to me many times over the years. I recently rediscovered it and read the 485 pages in 3 days. It remains THE best novel on the Holocaust I've ever read. Not overly graphic in the details, but so powerful you feel as if you are in every moment with the characters.
Oct 04, 2010 Lee rated it liked it
This book drove me crazy. I would probably rate the first couple hundred pages with 2 stars, maybe only 1. Her writing style drove me crazy, especially with tiny print and long paragraphs. It was so disjointed and confusing--I practically itched reading it and it took me months to get through it. I nearly put it down several times. Then once the war started I definitely felt more engaged even though it often still jumped around. Her experience was horrific and in such contrast to the pre-war day ...more
Linda  Branham Greenwell
Feb 01, 2010 Linda Branham Greenwell rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, historical
The story is about a Russian Jewish family that moved to Poland a few years before the 2nd-world war. Their life was genteel and wonderful and each member of the family was so caring and thoughtful to each other and their relatives. Then came the Nazi's and imprisonment, and for most death.
Anya and her child survive, and they are the only survivors from her family. Anya had to search for her daughter after the war and finally found her. But the striking thing about the novel is the 'based on fa
Aug 14, 2012 Tonya rated it it was ok
I never thought I would give a 2-star rating to an epic WWII novel, but look at me now! As I read a lot of other reviews of this book, I noticed that a lot of readers mentioned they read it in school back in the 70's and 80's. I think that for those purposes, it would be a good way to expose students to a lot of the harsh realities of the horrors of the Holocaust. HOWEVER, as for me, being someone who has read more than a few novels/nonfiction accounts on this topic, I found this FICTIONAL work ...more
Oct 03, 2015 Chris rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical
Disappointed. This is absolutely my kind of book and I was very keen to read it. While some might consider holocaust or other survivor manuscripts morbid, I feel we can learn a lot from what people went through and how they endured. It can help sometimes put our own issues into better context. Given all the five star reviews I settled down to read Anya with anticipation. I ended up dragging myself through to the end and finishing it with great relief so I could move on to something else. First o ...more
Feb 20, 2014 Evi rated it really liked it
As other reviewers have mentioned, this was a difficult book to read. The writing style was difficult, including tiny print and long paragraphs. At times it was a bit disjointed and confusing. It took me a long time to get through this book, but I'm glad I stayed with it. As a lover of Holocaust books, this was one of the best. It was an amazing story of Anya's life as a Holocaust survivor.

It was a bit long-winded in parts and I found myself rereading passages again and again. Some paragraphs ra
Laura Edwards
Jan 26, 2015 Laura Edwards rated it really liked it
Such a powerful book. As usual with any book about the Holocaust, I can only read a few chapters at a time and it takes a while to get through. So worth it, though. Ranks right up there with "Heavy Sand" by Anatoli Rybakov.

The only negative was the way the dialogue was written. All bunched together in one long paragraph. Made deciphering the speaker very difficult. I usually had to read passages of dialogue twice to get the words matched up with the proper speaker.

No other complaints. A book e
Kathleen Yeates
Dec 09, 2010 Kathleen Yeates rated it it was amazing
Read Anya several years ago and have always remembered it as one of my favorite stories. The author, Schaeffer has a way of describing places and feelings etc. so that you feel like you are there. I love stories like this telling of people's survival through such rough times. It always makes you stop and realize what these people went through and be gratefull for our own lives. I have always loved the name "Anya" since reading this book.
Aug 09, 2007 Mscarolyn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the Holocaust -- and who can stand the idea of it being the basis for a novel
Shelves: fiction
This is an exquisitely written, lovingly detailed literary feast -- the setting is drawn down to the last detail, beautiful and jewel-like -- and then smashed like an eggshell in the unfolding of the novel's events. Beautiful and harrowing and eye-opening. A must-read.
Patty Abrams
Feb 22, 2012 Patty Abrams rated it really liked it
Anya grew up as a wealthy and privileged Polish Jewess. Until the Nazis came.
Apr 13, 2014 Jennyb rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 100-best-women
It is possible that I take things too seriously sometimes, and I need to lighten up in my overly earnest assessments of books I read. That said, I expect serious fiction to be serious, and if you choose to write a novel about the Holocaust, you'd better be as damn serious as a heart attack. In Anya, Susan Fromberg Schaeffer isn't. In fact, have never read such a superficial and unfeeling book about the Holocaust, to the point where I don't just dislike this brainless account of the event, I am o ...more
Feb 17, 2015 Sue rated it really liked it
What an interesting book. I think I would give it 3 1/2 stars if I could. This is the story of a young girl growing up in comfort and privilege, with a large, loving, Jewish family in Poland about the time WWII begins. When Poland is invaded by Hitler, her life changes dramatically. This story follows her from the ghetto for Jews, to the concentration camp, and trying to survive after her escape and find her daughter. I loved the story, but I will say that it was hard to read because I sometimes ...more
C Miller
Aug 28, 2014 C Miller rated it really liked it
Read this the first time in university and it was the first novel I’d read about the holocaust and was completely overtaken by the story and the character of Anya. Just reread it 40 years later and still found it a very compelling story, although it didn’t cast the same spell as the first time I read it. Anya’s life before, during and after the war is rendered in great detail. It’s a long book, but I appreciate the care Fromberg takes to truly evoke each period in Anya’s life and never found any ...more
Set against the backdrop of WW II, the story unfolds as Hitler invades Poland and Anya and her family’s quest for survival amidst the atrocities meted out to Jews during this dark period in history. Unfortunately, I found the book inordinately and unjustifiably long, the writing style didn’t capture my attention and the character development left a lot to be desired. And, not to take anything away from the horrific genocide committed, this fictional story didn’t quite hang together as Anya seeme ...more
Jul 25, 2015 Jen rated it really liked it
I like to intermix sobering books like Anya in with my fluffy books I usually read. Stories like this one (of Jews in Poland during WWII) are great reminders of how easy of a life I really do have. The hardships these people endured were horrific.
Anya was truly an amazing story of moving on after loss and how there are still good people willing to help one another amidst the tragedies in life. There were some parts that were a bit uncomfortable to read, but that is to be excepted with any story
Anya by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer was an extremely difficult book for me given the subject matter and my daughter Anya! I give it 3 stars because the first 200 pages were laborious due to the fact that I didn't enjoy the writing style. The balance of the book was so emotional for me that I had to walk away from the book several times.

Go Cards! L1C4!

Aug 14, 2013 Rachelkrokus rated it it was amazing
this is one of the BEST books i've ever read, and one of the best books i've read about ww2 and the holocaust.
anya and her family's story is so richly detailed that it becomes realistic in your mind.
i learned after i finished this book that the author had developed the story by talking to survivors of the holocaust, and helping them to remember their lives before the war. this research paid off for all of us to really get a glimpse of someone's total experience from before, during, and after t
Dec 30, 2010 Preeti rated it really liked it
I thought this book was intriguing. Although it took me a while to get used to the authors' writing, it turned out to be an amazing story. Susan Fromberg Schaeffer would go off on tangents at times, but she did so to get her point across about each character and because she would do so, the book turned out to be a little longer than I had wanted it to be. But all that aside, she did an amazing job in 'placing' us in the date and situation of the novel.
Cheryl Cufari
Aug 24, 2016 Cheryl Cufari rated it really liked it
Through the eyes of Anya, the reader learns of the effects of war (in this case World War II) on the common person. Never again does Anya experience the life she knew with her Jewish family both emotionally or materially even as an immigrant to the United States. Heartbreaking to say the least yet the reader can only marvel at the strength of the human spirit and body while reading this epic novel.
Candice Walsh
Dec 25, 2012 Candice Walsh rated it it was ok
Can't say I enjoyed this book. The first two Chapters are devoted to household descriptions alone...and while I understand the premise for all this -- to set up everything that was lost -- it was extremely hard to get through. Some extremely heartbreaking moments throughout (as you would imagine), but the author's style drove me batty. I gave it two stars because it DID move me to tears, several times. Especially the Epilogue...the reflection. Could feel the loss.
Jul 26, 2011 Danielle rated it it was amazing
I can't believe I never left a review of this book. Someone once asked me which book I'd take with me when I die, (yes, morbid, right?), and without hesitation, it was Anya. I first read it in 1975, I believe, and have read it over and over again. I let people borrow it, have lost it twice and bought it again. If you like reading about the Holocaust (although that is also very morbid), you must read it. It's the story of a young girl, Anya, and her family. You will never forget it!
Charlotte Foster
Sep 26, 2012 Charlotte Foster rated it really liked it
I am a lover of Holocaust stories, this one made me take a serious break from the a very good way. Horrendously truthful, painfully thought-provoking and written in a poetic style that forces you to re-read passages again and again. I had to stop reading this book on the subway for fear of crying in public. Long-winded but deserving of the label, and also very depressing. Don't read this if you want something warm and inspiring, read this if you want to discover the truth.
Jan 22, 2012 Shirlyn rated it really liked it
I would almost give it 5 stars, the only draw back was the style of writing. Paragraphs would ramble on with sometimes two, three or even four people all talking, so difficult in part to figure out who is saying what.
But really like the story, it drew me in pretty quickly to keep me going the very long 500+ pages.
Gail Chumbley
Apr 28, 2014 Gail Chumbley rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Girls with an interest in the past
Powerful work on the Holocaust. Anya reads as almost two books. A tranquil beginning, then the hell of the Holocaust. I heartily recommend Anya to girls with an interest in History. Anya by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 21, 2015 11:12PM  
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  • Nine Suitcases: A Memoir
  • The Story of a Life
  • Behind Enemy Lines: The True Story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany
  • Not Me
  • Gratitude
  • Triumph of Hope: From Theresienstadt and Auschwitz to Israel
  • Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance

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