Maps and Shadows
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Maps and Shadows

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  24 ratings  ·  12 reviews
This stunning new novel is drawn from a little known chapter of World War II history - the brutal Soviet deportations of 1.5 million Polish civilians to forced labor camps in Siberia shortly after the Soviets occupied eastern Poland at the beginning of the war. Beautifully written, lyrical and poetic, Maps and Shadows explores the impacts of this shattering experience on a...more
Paperback, 151 pages
Published December 30th 2010 by Aquila Polonica
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The history covered in this book is very interesting. The book deals with the consequences of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Russia and Germany, the name being the foreign ministers of the respective countries. The book is essentially about how historical events play out in one Polish family. This book is sold as historical fiction, but in my view it reads more as a history book. The prose style is very factual, filled with intersting historical details. I appreciate what I learned, but I d...more
The book deals with a relatively little publicized piece of Polish WWII history- the displacement of 1.5 million Polish civilians from the eastern parts of Poland, their deportation to Siberia by the invading Russians in 1939, their subsequent labour camp experience and journeys through the Soviet republics to the Middle East and Africa following an amnesty in 1941 to join the newly formed Polish army in exile.

The family at the center of the story is from a farm in Pilsudczyzna- the land in the...more
Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: I enjoy memoirs of the war (even fictionalized) and I particularly like WWII books which introduce me to new information that is not so widely known.

This is a novel but is based on the true story of the author's father's family (his siblings and their parents). I also think there is a fuzzy line between where the truth ends and the fiction begins. It truly seems that the author used the novel format simply so she could write her family's story from all sides, giving voice to...more
Darcy Odden
"Maps and Shadows," a novel by Krysia Jopek, informs readers about an aspect of World War II that has rarely seen the light of day – the Soviet deportation of almost 1.5 million Polish civilians to forced labor camps in Siberia. Jopek's family was among those deported.

Each chapter in Jopek's novel is narrated by one of four family members: Andrzej (father), Zofia (mother), Henryk (brother), and Helcia (sister).

The story begins with the family living a good life farming land the Polish governmen...more
Maps and Shadows, by Krysia Jopek is a novel, told from a unique perspective, that of Polish deportees to forced labor camps in Siberia.

The novel begins in 1939, and is told through four family members in alternating chapters. Andrzej is the father, Henryk is the older son, Josef is the youngest son, Zofia is the mother, and Helcia is the daughter. It details the family’s experiences through the four voices of all but the youngest child, Josef. The story line is based on both family history and...more
Maps and Shadows by Krysia Jopek

Although this book is a novel, it is a story told from the hearts of four people of a family of five, beginning with the brutal Soviet invasion of Poland, essentially the first day of World War II, followed by the Germans and the subsequent deportation of its former citizens, this book is an eye-opener to what it is like to have no country. For Poland has disappeared from the globe before and is about to be wiped off the map again.

The story is so terrible and the...more
This novel is based in a Polish family’s experience during World War II. They are deported by the Soviet soldiers and forced to travel by train and later by foot to labor camps in Siberia. This was near the beginning of the war when the Soviets occupied Poland. You follow their travels, often being separated from each other, in Siberia, Uzbekistan, Palestine, Africa, Italy, England and finally all ending up in the United States.

Krysia Jopek has the story unfold with chapters from the perspective...more
I am not sure what I expected from this book. Perhaps it was too much. I read it in one sitting and then went back for another read, thinking that there must be aspects that escaped me in my initial reading. It did not work for me either time. I will elaborate.
This is a memoir-fiction written by a woman who has a real way with words. To say that Jopek is not a skilled writer, would be not giving her the praise that she deserves for her lyricism.
I say that Maps and Shadows is a memoir-fiction, b...more
“I will urge Helcia to carve out the bloodspill with her pen”

This is the thought that Henryk carries in his mind as his family is being transported to Siberia from their rural home in Poland. Despite his youth, he can sense the turmoil that is uprooting them and the violence that will come, and can only hope that Helcia and her poetry will help make sense of it all. In Maps and Shadows, the novel released this month by Krysia Jopek, we see how this small family of five is transported on a journe...more
Kim Schultz
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Maps and Shadows is a generous and lyrical novel.

Written in prose and poetry, the author shares pages from her family's history by letting each character speak for themselves. The horrible conditions each family member endured are described honestly, but always tempered by hope, fond recollections of the home they once shared, and their love for one another.

I grew up in a Polish-American family, eating Polish food on holidays, but never...more
The feeling that these members of Krysia's family (I know the author, so I can use the familiar first name) are living in a muted reality is intentional. How likely for a family to endure what it did in Poland, Siberia and other unexpected parts of the world during World War II? A very effective use of multiple narrators, especially because of the separations the family endured. Also an effective use of poetry interspersed with the story. And while entertaining, I learned things I did not know a...more
This was a well done book, incorporating the thoughts & feelings of a family as they were sent on the horrid trains to concentration camps. Each one had their say. Books about this time of war are always sad, however this was pretty interesting. I did not know that some were sent all the way into Africa from the camps and into the middle East. Well written.
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Krysia Jopek was born in Hartford, Connecticut. She holds three degrees, a BA and MA in English from the University of Connecticut and a M.Phil in English from CUNY Graduate Center. She studied in London her sophomore year of college and attended Semester at Sea in Fall of 1998 before teaching English at CUNY from 1991-2001.

The combination of her travels, education and teaching experience informs...more
More about Krysia Jopek...
Maps and Shadows: A Novel

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