Books·Canadian

The Russländer

Sandra Birdsell's novel was shortlisted for the 2001 Giller Prize.

Sandra Birdsell

Katherine (Katya) Vogt is now an old woman living in Winnipeg, but the story of how she and her family came to Canada begins in Russia in 1910, on a wealthy Mennonite estate. Here they lived in a world bounded by the prosperity of their landlords and by the poverty and disgruntlement of the Russian workers who toil on the estate. But in the wake of the First World War, the tensions engulfing the country begin to intrude on the community, leading to an unspeakable act of violence. In the aftermath of that violence and in the difficult years that follow, Katya tries to come to terms with the terrible events that befell her and her family. In lucid, spellbinding prose, Birdsell vividly evokes the unease that existed in a county on the brink of revolutionary change. The Russländer is a powerful and moving story of ordinary people who lived through extraordinary times. (From McClelland & Stewart)