Under This Unbroken Sky Hardcover – 27 Aug 2009
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utterly gripping.. Beautifully pitched and unsentimental in execution. Brilliant. (Eithne Farry MARIE CLAIRE)
A beautiful story about two families who have nothing, yet manage to strip each other of everything (EASY LIVING)
Beautifully drawn characters, flawless descriptions of an unrelenting landscape and the intricate plot add to this harrowing, breathtaking novel... Not to be missed (SHE)
This stunning first novel is powerful, tragic and utterly gripping (THE TIMES)
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 (Claire Allfree METRO)
such is Mitchell's grasp of plot and character and pace that she can keep it that simple and still manage to hold the reader (BOOKBAG.COM)
impressive control of the subject and a stunning depiction of the natural world (Catherine Taylor THE GUARDIAN)
An extraordinary family and an unrelenting landscape combine to create an epic story of survival and redemption.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Under This Unbroken Sky is a gripping tale well told. A brave, confident and uncompromising debut from a new voice surely destined for great things. For me the first half of the book is all about character. The character of the two central Ukrainian immigrant families and even more so the character of the Canadian Prairies where they find a new home. Protagonist Theo Mykolayenko cultivates and renews this land, but it also transforms the families. And then around halfway through, THWACK, a torrent of blows batters you and doesn't let up until the final page. Each turn of events more devastating than the last, fearlessly addressed by Mitchell in the most brutal of terms.
I believe a key ingredient to a classic novel is to leave the reader feeling somewhat empty and lost after finishing it. Under This Unbroken Sky had such an effect on me and I was compelled to return to the opening chapter with hindsight in tow. A book for all seasons, I can't wait for the next one.
Teodor Mykolayenko and his family escape from the Ukraine under Stalin to start a new life on the Prairies. They endeavour to make a living, working as hard as possible, but people and events conspire to make their circumstances even tougher, the authorities and extended family doing their best to undermine their efforts.
The story is so well told that I felt I knew the family personally. The author has an unusual, rather abrupt writing style that I thoroughly enjoyed. She does a wonderful job of painting life in a tough environment. The book may be distressing in places, but it's compelling too, gripping from the start.
I have never said this before in a book review, so it is no cliché for me, but I couldn't put it down and had to read straight through, completely absorbed.
This is a book you mustn't miss. It's brilliant. Roll on the next one.
Theo Mykolayenko returns to his family after a year spent in prison. Along with his wife and children, Theo works relentlessly to build up the family homestead. Theo's hard work could be in vain due to the return of his brother-in-law, Stefan. Stefan is hell-bent on ruining their lives and taking it all away.
I really loved this story and particularly liked the setting and the slow menacing plot. The ending is tragic and unforgettable.
As I say, there's no doubt it's well-written and lots of people have loved this book, but it just didn't do anything for me.
Off to read something more upbeat now!
Teodor returns to his wife and family at the beginning of the novel following time in prison for stealing his own grain. All appears to be going relatively well until the return of his alcoholic brother-in-law, Stefan. His return leads to tragedy... not only for Teodor and his family but for Stefan's own family also.
I found this book an extremely interesting and powerful read. I think it spoke to me on a very deep level as I myself am from a farming family. Sadly, I was able to relate to many of the issues of working together so closely as a family and the conflicts that arise from this situation. This book portrays aspects of the farming family life that are relevant- even in today's society. The conflict between the hard- working Teodor and his arrogant, alcoholic, delusional brother-in-law is wonderfully portrayed. As a reader, and through my own personal experiences, I could feel Teodor's frustration and despair as Stefan tried to steal all that he had worked for.
All the characters in the novel are very well portrayed but it is the characters of Stefan and his son, Petro, that are terrifyingly real to me. Petro's need to please his father and his delusional desire to be like him stands out to me personally as such a terribly tragic part of this novel. I think the author's skills are shown here as the reader is left feeling both anger and pity towards the young boy.
The setting of this book is described beautifully.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a truly beautiful story. Anna and her brother Teodor, and their families, are Ukrainian immigrants to Canada, hoping for a better life. But life is very tough for them. Read morePublished on 22 Dec. 2012 by SusieH
This is an amazing story, the struggle of two families to survive against all odds.The characters are amazing. Read morePublished on 21 Aug. 2012 by BookFan
This book is utterly spellbinding. The heartbreaking story of two Ukrainian families who emigrate to Canada and struggle to survive the harsh environment and a bitter feud. Read morePublished on 20 Jun. 2011 by Macc Lass
This was a gripping read and one that captured me from the opening pages. The author writes so eloquently that I felt I knew the characters and the land as if I'd been there with... Read morePublished on 13 Jan. 2011 by kehs
This impressive debut novel from Shandi Mitchell tells of a family who are immigrants in Canada, originally from the Ukraine. Read morePublished on 28 Oct. 2010 by L. H. Healy
I really loved the level of details in this book. I am afraid that's more a matter of preferences though, my husband reading the same book found this characteristic rather boring. Read morePublished on 23 Oct. 2010 by winterfell
Enjoyed the book and got the feel of the immigrant life and harsh conditions in Canada.
Interesting plot and the conflict between siblings and families. Read more
I bought this book expecting to learn something about life on the prairies of Canada but it could have been set in any country with cold, hard winters. Read morePublished on 18 April 2010 by Avis Read
Under This Unbroken Sky is the story of the pioneer Teodor Mykolayenko and his family - wife Maria, several children, and sister Anna and her family - as they attempt to make new... Read morePublished on 10 Mar. 2010 by L. Cooney