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list price: $32
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
category: Fiction
published: Sep 2009
ISBN:9780670068081
imprint: Viking

Under This Unbroken Sky

by Shandi Mitchell

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5 of 5
1 rating
rated!
rated!
list price: $32
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
category: Fiction
published: Sep 2009
ISBN:9780670068081
imprint: Viking
Description

In the spring of 1938, Teodor Mykolayenko returns to his family after a year spent in prison for the crime of trying to feed them. His wife and children have been living under the care of his sister Anna on the harsh and unforgiving prairie landscape. Channelling the great inner power that enabled him to survive drought, starvation, warfare, and Stalin’s crimes in Ukraine, he takes to the land with unbending resolve, and as the crops grow, his family heals and strengthens.  But the family’s hopes and newfound happiness are short-lived when Anna’s rogue husband returns with an unforgiveable plan that threatens to take away everything they have built.  A novel about family, pride, the resiliency and fragility of the human spirit and the fine line between those who break and those who don’t, Under This Unbroken Sky is a magnificent piece of storytelling from a remarkable new voice in contemporary literature. 

Contributor Notes

Shandi Mitchell is an award-winning Canadian director and screenwriter. Her first short film, Gasoline Puddles, received the Drama Prize from Canada’s National Screen Institute.  She has been a creative and producing partner in Emotion Pictures, where she collaborated on the critically acclaimed feature films The Hanging Garden and Beefcake. She recently won a Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for Outstanding Mid-Career Achievement from the Canada Council for the Arts for her upcoming feature film, The Disappeared. Mitchell spent her childhood on a military base in the prairies and now makes her home in Nova Scotia. if (SYM == "BIO") { document.writeln("

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Editorial Review

"This stunning first novel is powerful, tragic and utterly gripping" - The Times

"Beautifully drawn characters, flawless descriptions of an unrelenting landscape and the intricate plot add to this harrowing, breathtaking novel... Not to be missed" - She

"Shandi Mitchell's impressive debut may not sound like your typical beach read but this tautly controlled epic should keep those in search of some holiday literary escapism hooked until the last page all the same" - Metro

"In the Canadian prairies, a Ukrainian family that has escaped Stalin's regime anxiously awaits the return of patriarch Theo from prison. Theo makes a deal with his sister Anna to farm part of her land, which the family then tends to support themselves. But this growing harmonious enterprise is devastated by the return of Anna's malevolent husband. A beautiful story about two families who have nothing, yet manage to strip each other of everything." - Easy Living Magazine

"Shandi Mitchell's debut is not the cheeriest of reads—from the opening pages there's a palpable feeling of menace and unease —but it is utterly gripping. Epic in scope, this tale of family feuds, violence and hardship follows the fortunes of Theo Mykolayenko, a Ukrainian survivor of Stalin's labour camps who starts a new life in the harsh Canadian Prairies. His mettle is tested to the limit by the land and his neighbours' hostilities, but eventually his fields are golden with corn and his family start to thrive. That is, until the return of his sister's malevolent, drunken husband, whose merciless greed threatens to undermine everything Theo has so resolutely worked for. Beautifully pitched and unsentimental in execution. Brilliant." - Marie Claire

“The starkly gorgeous prairie comes alive...Combining the storytelling skills of Ivan Doig with the stunning landscapes in Karen Fisher's A Sudden Country, Mitchell's harrowing story delivers an unforgettable literary tribute to an immigrant people and their struggle. The lyrical style, the riveting historical material, and the treatment of prejudice make the novel a great book-club choice.” - Booklist, starred review

“Under This Unbroken Skycrushed and inspired me simultaneously, a novel I didn’t want to end. Shandi Mitchell’s prose strikes like a prairie thunderstorm, every page building to an intensity that’s simply awing to behold. Brilliant and honest and brutal, this new voice feels as old and right as anything I’ve read in a very long time.” - Joseph Boyden, Giller Prize Award-winning author of Through Black Spruce

“A magnificent novel, written with grace and power, Under This Unbroken Sky is a powerhouse of a debut that grips from start to finish.” - Steven Galloway, author of The Cellist of Sarajevo

“The tragedy Shandi Mitchell explores in her novel is as unforgettable as the truth and stark beauty of its telling. Mitchell’s extraordinary rendering of human suffering is matched by her ability to give powerful imaginative shape to the will to survive, to care for others, and to forgive the most brutal of trespasses.” - Janice Kulyk Keefer, author of The Ladies’ Lending Library

“Under This Unbroken Sky is a dazzling novel. Shandi Mitchell's depiction of Depression-era prairie life has a vividness and veracity that brings to mind Willa Cather's fiction, but Mitchell's voice and her rendering of the human heart's complexities are completely her own. She is a writer of immense talent. - Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena

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