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Fiction Jewish

The Knife Sharpener's Bell

A Novel

by (author) Rhea Tregebov

Wolsak and Wynn Publishers
Initial publish date
Aug 2009
Jewish, World War II, Contemporary Women
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2009
    List Price

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Winner of the J.I. Segal 2010 Awards, Prize in English Fiction and Poetry on a Jewish Theme

Shortlisted for the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards, Fiction

Annette Gershon and her family try to escape the economic chaos of the Great Depression in 1930s Winnipeg by returning "home" to the Soviet Union. But there they find themselves on a runaway train of tumultuous events as Stalinist Russia plunges into the horrors of World War II. This story of remarkable breadth and extraordinary prose is the seldom-told tale of those who undertook that odyssey, of loyalty and betrayal, heroism and fear.

About the author

Rhea Tregebov is the author of seven critically acclaimed books of poetry, most recently All Souls' (Wolsak & Wynn, 2019). She has also published five popular children's picture books including The Big Storm and What-If Sara, which are set in Winnipeg. She has edited ten anthologies of essays, poetry and fiction, most recently Arguing with the Storm. Her work has received a number of literary prizes, including the Nancy Richler Award for fiction (for Rue des Rosiers) as well as the Segal , Prairie Schooner Readers' Choice Award, and the Malahat Review Long Poem Award for her poetry. Rue des Rosiers is her second novel. The Knife Sharpener’s Bell, her first, won the J.I. Segal Prize in English Fiction. Born in Saskatoon and raised in Winnipeg, Tregebov lived for many years in Toronto, working as a freelance writer, editor, and instructor. From 2005 to 2017 she taught Creative Writing at UBC. She is now an Associate Professor Emerita at UBC. 

Rhea Tregebov's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"An assured and affecting first novel. The imminence of disaster - sensing it will come, not knowing how - infuses this tale of a Winnipeg family resettling in ancestral Ukraine? The emerging Holocaust lurks like a slumbering monster, determinedly denied until it begins to claim victims." - Globe and Mail

"Rhea Tregebov offers readers a compassionate and generous glimpse into a little-known aspect of history: Canadian immigrants whose idealism led them back to the country from which they had fled before the Russian revolution. Viewing this era through a unique lens, Tregebov deftly portrays this west-meets-east perspective, while tracing the twists and turns of being Jewish under Stalin." - Lilian Nattel

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