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Philipovna: Daughter of Sorrow
Guernica Editions (MiroLand), Spring 2019
290 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN13: 9781771833691
ISBN10: 1771833696
$25.00 Canada, $25.00 US

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Philipovna: The Daughter of Sorrow is a creative non-fiction based on the author's mother's surviving the holodomor [the Ukrainian starvation] in the early 1930's. It is the story of an orphan who goes to live with her aunt in a rural village in the Ukrainian countryside. The aunt swears on her dead sister's Bible that Vera Philipovna will survive no matter what might befall the family. No one foresees the horrors that they will have to face between the fall of 1930 and the spring of 1933. In the end, out of a healthy extended family, only Philipovna, a cousin and the aunt survive. The acts of real savagery that are perpetrated on the village are unflinchingly narrated by a pre-pubescent girl, who also gives us a good grasp of the beauty and richness of the Ukrainian culture with its superstitions, customs and celebrations. From the author: "The story is one of resilience and survival. It is my attempt to restore the voice of a generation that has been silenced and buried. It is a conflation of my mother's stories, years of detailed research and my own insight of a child having to face adult challenges long before she is ready."
She tucked some raw carrots into another small bundle. She found the Unravelled One's coat that she had almost frozen to death in last winter. She put ashes into her dark brown hair, although she didn't have to use as many as last time. She kissed Xenkovna goodbye and waited while Xenkovna hugged me with her tears falling all over my face. “Tell the men what happened,” she said. “I'll be back as soon as I can. At least I won't freeze my hands and feet off this time.”

Books by Valentina Gal

Philipovna: Daughter of Sorrow