Saturday, July 13, 2013

An Echo Through the Snow by Andrea Thalasions

"Rosalie and Smokey walked past places in the woods where people had once lived.  Long after sandstone foundations crumbled back into soil, there remained demarcations of flower gardens.  Wives had once stood at the cliffs' edge, watching for the return of fishing vessels after a brutal November storm.  Clumps of daffodils, tell tale spires of purple and white lupines would poke up without fail.  Annual shocks of ruffled orange poppies and borders of electric blue forget-me-nots proclaimed, 'We were here: remember us.'  Pushing up each spring, the flowers held their ground against native grasses and sapling trees.  Stalwart little reminders of those who'd battled to hold on to the promise of spring.  Imprinting the land forever - long after simple graves are shrouded in thickets and everyone who remembers is gone- the flowers continue to bear testament."

I read this book for a workshop I am attending on book discussions in a few weeks.  The author will be joining us and I am very excited to meet her and see what she had to say about her book!

"An Echo Through the Snow" tells the story of two time periods: the native Chukchi people of Siberia in 1929 when Stalin's Red Army takes over and intertwines a modern story of a young girl named Rosalie in the 1990s.  The center of both stories are the Siberian huskies and dogsled racing. 

Even though it took me awhile to get the characters down,  I really enjoyed the parts centering on the Chukchi people.  I don't know much about this period in history and I could have used some more background and explanation on both the historical aspects and on the characters themselves.  I generally liked the character of Rosalie, but something just frustrated me about her.  Maybe there was just too much focus on her "finding herself."  I thought that the story was very original and I liked how the author was able to connect the two stories at the end of the book.  I learned a lot about dogsled racing!  Thalasions's prospective on native people, both in Siberia and in the United States, we really interesting.  She did a great job of showing how people were affected once their land was taken from them without coming right out and saying it.  The book also takes place in my home state of Wisconsin and the author, who teaches at UW-Madison, is also a dogsled racer herself:

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