Fiction William Durbin The Darkest Evening

ISBN 13: 9780439373074

The Darkest Evening

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9780439373074: The Darkest Evening

A thrilling novel of a young boy's devastation when his father uproots him and moves their family to Russia, where a society of Finnish-Socialists attempt to found a workers' paradise.

Jake's life is turned upside down when his father gets caught up in the Socialist fervor washing over their Finnish mining community in Minnesota. His father decides to move their family to a new, Finnish state inside the Soviet Union, a change that fills Jake with dread. Where his father dreams of creating a worker's paradise, Jake and his family find disappointment and hardship. The story culminates with a thrilling escape--on skis--from Russia to Finland.

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About the Author:

William Durbin is a former high school and college English teacher and the award-winning author of ten novels, including Wintering and The Broken Blade. He lives on Lake Vermilion at the edge of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 6-9 - Jake Maki, 13, is deeply unhappy when his father, an ardent socialist, decides to move his Finnish-American family from Minnesota to Karelia, Russia, at the height of the Depression. His parents are swayed by the reports of wonderful educational opportunities and a symphony orchestra for Jake's older brother, a promising musician. Karelia proves to be far from the workers' paradise that was promised; the Makis find dirty, crowded living conditions, food shortages, and lack of adequate supplies. They make the best of things and actually thrive for a while until the NKVD, the secret police, begin taking many Finnish men away for no apparent reason. When Peter and other young musicians are arrested at the end of a concert, the boys' father nevertheless clings to his idealistic beliefs, insisting that the action is a bureaucratic mistake that will be corrected. When Arvid himself is finally taken into custody, Jake, now 16 and certain his father and brother will never return, takes decisive action and arranges to escape to Finland with his mother and younger sister. Their dramatic, weeklong, dangerous journey on skis, complete with a final dash for the border while Russian soldiers fire on them, is by far the most compelling part of the book. This novel about a little-known historical episode will be of particular interest in areas with large Finnish-American populations. - Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA
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