In Siberia It is Very Cold

Lester Goldberg, Author Dembner Books $14.95 (221p) ISBN 978-0-934878-88-3
In 1941, a group of Polish Jews, the Nazis at their door, choose to survive in Siberia's bitter cold, where no one will hunt them down. But given the chance to go south, narrator Max, a master barber who can always find work, joins his father and two sisters in Alma Ata on the Chinese border, where food, though plentiful, is so costly that only a thief or a murderer can keep from starving. Max is caught and jailed, escapes, becomes famous by wrestling a circus bear and then killing it, only to be battered out of his senses by the animal's huge, blonde keeper, who fancies Max but prefers the bear. Eventually he moves northward, where he finds work in a shoe factory and falls in love with a teenager from his own Polish town of Zamosc. Action and bloody detail vibrate with authenticity, but the narrative is episodic rather than fluid. This O. Henry Prize-winning short story writer has not yet mastered the tension that tighter plotting would produce. (May 29)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1987
Release date: 06/01/1987
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