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A bend in the stars : a novel – tekijä:…
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A bend in the stars : a novel (vuoden 2019 painos)

– tekijä: Rachel Barenbaum

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
13810151,218 (3.4)8
All the Light We Cannot See meets The Nightingale in this literary WWI-era novel and epic love story of a brilliant young doctor who races against Einstein to solve one of the universe's great mysteries. In Russia, in the summer of 1914, as war with Germany looms and the Czar's army tightens its grip on the local Jewish community, Miri Abramov and her brilliant physicist brother, Vanya, are facing an impossible decision. Since their parents drowned fleeing to America, Miri and Vanya have been raised by their babushka, a famous matchmaker who has taught them to protect themselves at all costs: to fight, to kill if necessary, and always to have an escape plan. But now, with fierce, headstrong Miri on the verge of becoming one of Russia's only female surgeons, and Vanya hoping to solve the final puzzles of Einstein's elusive theory of relativity, can they bear to leave the homeland that has given them so much? Before they have time to make their choice, war is declared and Vanya goes missing, along with Miri's fiancé. Miri braves the firing squad to go looking for them both. As the eclipse that will change history darkens skies across Russia, not only the safety of Miri's own family but the future of science itself hangs in the balance. Grounded in real history -- and inspired by the solar eclipse of 1914 -- A Bend in the Stars offers a heart-stopping account of modern science's greatest race amidst the chaos of World War I, and a love story as epic as the railways crossing Russia.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:hasifriyah
Teoksen nimi:A bend in the stars : a novel
Kirjailijat:Rachel Barenbaum
Info:New York : Grand Central Publishing, [2019]
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
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A Bend in the Stars (tekijä: Rachel Barenbaum)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 10) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Digital audiobook performed by Thérèse Plummer and Eduardo Bellarini

From the book jacket: In Russia in the summer of 1914, as war with Germany looms the czar’s army tightens its grip on the local Jewish community, Miri Abramov and her brilliant physicist brother, Vanya, are facing an impossible decision. Since their parents drowned, they’ve been raised by their babushka, who taught them to protect themselves at all costs: to fight, kill if necessary, and always have an escape plan. Now, with Miri on the verge of becoming one of Russia’s only female surgeons, and Vanya close to solving the puzzle of Einstein’s elusive theory of relativity, can they bear to leave the homeland that has given them so much?

My reactions:
This was an ambitious debut, and Barenbaum did a reasonably good job of painting the picture of a country divided by political upheaval and on the brink of war. But I think she bit off more than she could chew. There are so many subplots here … a romance or two, an escape from danger (or three), Vanya’s efforts to test his theory based on the solar eclipse, Miri’s efforts to be recognized as the surgeon she wants to be. They are chased from one end of Russia to another, riding trains and carts and living by their wits (and occasional muscle). They hide in filthy holes, and in “plain sight.” They are separated, reunited and separated again. I ached for some peace for them and for me as a reader.

The audio version is expertly performed by two very talented voice artists: Thérèse Plummer and Eduardo Bellarini. They really brought these characters to life and made me feel I was involved in the intrigue. ( )
  BookConcierge | Aug 31, 2020 |
I think Kate Quinn may have ruined me for historical fiction, because this is the third book in the genre I’ve picked up this year and they’ve all kind of been disappointments. And this one even got positive comparisons to The Alice Network on the cover, so it had me excited.

First off, apologies for the slightly odd summary. I decided to go for teasing the mood and themes than the plot because the plot’s hard to summarize without giving too much away. (Basically, though, Vanya’s trying to beat Einstein to the relativity equations, because he can use them to save his family, but he’s got to cross Russia to do that, and his sister Miri, a surgeon, has to deal with life without him but ends up on a cross-country journey of her own.) It’s a story full of high emotion of all kinds—except that I never quite felt it. Not when homes get raided, not when they reach destinations, not when they succeed or fail in their goals.

I liked the setting, though. Russia in 1914 isn’t something I’ve read before, and the trend in historical fiction right now seems to be for World War II, so it was interesting to read something different. Barenbaum captures the sense of it well, I think—winter forests, rotting fields, Jewish slums, war in the distance—and has done enough research to make it all seem believable and to round out her protagonists. I liked that there were so many central Jewish characters too and that their Jewishness is central to the story, same with Vanya’s and Miri’s professions of physicist and surgeon. They’re properly courageous too, and survivors, and familiar and relatable despite the historical gap.

At the same time, if you’re looking for a book steeped in Jewish faith and culture, this isn’t it. This is “people being heroic in wartime while also being Jewish” more than “Jewish people being heroic in wartime”, if that makes sense. You’re not going to find a lot of stereotypes or typical jobs in the main cast either, and even the matchmaker grandmother is shown as a community leader and a pogrom survivor instead of the local busybody. I get the sense that Barenbaum’s bringing known figures or events to life instead of writing a book about Jewish people, and I liked that.

I also liked that I learned things! I didn’t know about the Jewish hospitals, for instance, and there’s stuff about trains and physics and the army too. It’s an interesting window into and realization of history, and you do get a sense of the fear and oppression and beauty and hope of Russia even before the war starts.

Unfortunately, like I said, I found writing a little less evocative than I’d hoped, so I ended up not connecting the characters much, and I found myself not caring so much about whether they succeeded, failed, or got reunited. Even the scenery There’s also a motif of superstition vs. science, which I wish had been taken a little further, and I had my usual problem with the frame story, which is that I generally don’t care for them.

In the end, this was interesting enough to hold my attention, but barely, and I’m not sure I’ll pick up another book of Barenbaum’s. Let’s hope my next historical read turns out to be more my speed.

To bear in mind: The characters face antisemitism, though it’s usually matter-of-fact, not violent, and something they’re just aware of and living with. There is also violence, including attempted sexual violence, misogyny, and war-created food shortages.

6.5/10 ( )
  NinjaMuse | Jul 26, 2020 |
This is a fast-paced historical drama set in Russia at the outbreak of World War I. Miri Abramov is the first female doctor in her town; her brother, Vanya, is a talented physicist researching relativity, and his research and corresponding status as a "useful" member of the Jewish community affords their family a fragile stability on the eve of the war. But as the war steadily approaches, tensions and stakes rise, and in an attempt to fulfill the loftiest of his scientific aims, Vanya disappears at the war's beginning along with Miri's fiancé. Miri's attempt to locate them sets off a tale of science and history that unfolds across the dramatic landscape of imperial Russia.

This was remarkably well-researched, and Russia truly seemed to come alive in this book. It's quite plot-driven, and it's a very compelling story to read. I will say that, for me, my enjoyment of the book increased in the second half of the book. Through the first half, I was fairly lukewarm about the book, but the story was much more enjoyable for me in the second half. This might be due, at least in part, to the fact that my favorite character in the book was Miri without a doubt, and the second half of the book saw more focus on her. ( )
  forsanolim | Jun 12, 2020 |
Set in Russia before the outbreak of WW I, this follows the lives of a Jewish family who are trying to escape the prejudice and violence inflicted on Russian Jews. Miri is a female surgeon and her brother Vanya is a physicist. They've placed their hopes on escaping Russia through Vanya's work on finding the flaw with Einstein's theory of relativity. Vanya, brilliant in math feels that he is close to figuring this out, but needs to prove his theory with photos of the total solar eclipse, scheduled to occur over Russia in 1914. The result is a story that is richly descriptive of tsarist Russia with a page turning plot. ( )
  jmoncton | Sep 14, 2019 |
I thought the writing was simplistic and the story too melodramatic for historical fiction. ( )
  pltgsage | Aug 17, 2019 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 10) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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In physical reality one cause does not produce a given effect, but a multitude of distinct causes contribute to produce it, without our having any means of discriminating the part of each of them.
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Ethel Zane stood next to her granddaughter, Lena, in the museum's rotunda and tried to catch her breath by pretending to examine the painting in front of them.
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Life doesn't travel in a straight line . Knowing the end doesn't mean you can follow it back to the beginning.
"You can't escape a cage until you know its shape and weakness," Miri said.
"An eclipse? What is there to see in the dark?"
"A bend in the stars," Miri said.
"...Everything in our universe is made of pieces. There's no one point at which anything is truly distinct."
"Life and the universe are not written in stone. Gravity bends direction. Always keep your mind open."
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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All the Light We Cannot See meets The Nightingale in this literary WWI-era novel and epic love story of a brilliant young doctor who races against Einstein to solve one of the universe's great mysteries. In Russia, in the summer of 1914, as war with Germany looms and the Czar's army tightens its grip on the local Jewish community, Miri Abramov and her brilliant physicist brother, Vanya, are facing an impossible decision. Since their parents drowned fleeing to America, Miri and Vanya have been raised by their babushka, a famous matchmaker who has taught them to protect themselves at all costs: to fight, to kill if necessary, and always to have an escape plan. But now, with fierce, headstrong Miri on the verge of becoming one of Russia's only female surgeons, and Vanya hoping to solve the final puzzles of Einstein's elusive theory of relativity, can they bear to leave the homeland that has given them so much? Before they have time to make their choice, war is declared and Vanya goes missing, along with Miri's fiancé. Miri braves the firing squad to go looking for them both. As the eclipse that will change history darkens skies across Russia, not only the safety of Miri's own family but the future of science itself hangs in the balance. Grounded in real history -- and inspired by the solar eclipse of 1914 -- A Bend in the Stars offers a heart-stopping account of modern science's greatest race amidst the chaos of World War I, and a love story as epic as the railways crossing Russia.

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