Book Review: The Silence Of The Trees by Valya Dudycz Lupescu

Synopsis

In Chicago’s Ukrainian Village, Nadya Lysenko has built her life on a foundation of secrets. When she was sixteen, Nadya snuck out of her house in Western Ukraine to meet a fortuneteller in the woods. She never expected it to be the last time she would see her family. Decades later, Nadya continues to be haunted by the death of her parents and sisters. The myths and magic of her childhood are still a part of her reality: dreams unite friends across time and space, house spirits misplace keys and glasses, and a fortuneteller’s cards predict the future. Nadya’s beloved dead insist on being heard through dreams and whispers in the night. They want the truth to come out. Nadya needs to face her past and confront the secrets she buried–in The Silence of Trees.

Review

This book flooded me with imagery and emotion. I felt very involved with the situations Nadya faced. This is a very beautifully written book and I was enchanted by the Ukrainian customs and folklore. The stories within the stories were charming and important within the text.

The bond between Nadya and her friend Ana and her family were very well written and there was a supernatural element in the plot which you had to take on faith or interpret pragmatically, the latter detracting from the magic of the book.

You can’t help but get emotionally invested in the characters and when Nadya’s granddaughter starts seeing a German-American man you feel her dismay as much as you feel her granddaughter disappointment at Nadya’s rejection of her relationship.

This was a rich read and I wholeheartedly recommend it. There are also discussion questions at the end for reading groups.

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