When the 16-year-old narrator Lina tells us, as she uses the bathroom before being hustled out of her house by the Soviet NKVD in 1941, that it would be more than 10 years before she looked in a mirror again - well, we know that some Bad Stuff is to come.
The conditions under which Lina's fellow labor camp prisoners, Lithuanian women, children, and old men, are almost incomprehensibly grim, and more hideous yet is the knowledge that this went on well past the end of WWII. Even if prisoners survived their 10 or 20-year sentences and went home to Lithuania, they were still in the Soviet Union and thus not allowed to talk about their experiences.
This is a story of family, love and bravery in the most spirit and body-deadening of situations. It's often hard to read, but well worth it in order to learn about this little-known part of nasty 20th century history.