Praise & Reviews for The Little Russian

Praise & Reviews

“If Margaret Mitchell and Isaac Bashevis Singer had a baby, it would be The Little Russian. It’s impossible not to be deeply impressed by this sweeping portrait of Russia during the pogroms, but it is even more impossible not to be moved by this fiery and deeply human love story. A moving and brilliantly researched debut, I just loved it.”Sheri Holman, author of The Dress Lodger
“[An] impressive debut…Sherman’s sweeping saga works on multiple levels, from its grim depictions of war’s depredations to its harsh portrayals of anti-Semitism to its fiery love story. A mesmerizing read.”Booklist (Starred)
“Sherman’s extraordinary debut novel plunges her readers into the bitter cold, deprivation, and upheaval of early 20th-century wartime Russia. Berta is a fascinating mix of petty vanity, devoted parenting, and breathtaking courage, fleshed out with cinematic detail that’s both irresistible and spectacularly illuminating. All fiction readers will enjoy.”Library Journal (Starred)
“An impressive fiction debut with an epic tale of war’s transformative effects on one Russian woman and her family…Sherman succeeds with her epic, sweeping arc and auspicious period setting.”Publishers Weekly
“Berta is a girl from a Jewish working-class family in early 20th century Ukraine. She gets a taste of the good life in Moscow but then has to return to her parents’ little store. When a handsome wheat trader comes into the store, they fall in love, and she thinks he’s her ticket back to the sumptuous life. But she finds that her husband’s business was a cover for his real work, smuggling guns to Jews. Her bad decisions lead to some terrifying adventures. Through it all, she remains headstrong, spoiled, and fascinating.”Elaine’s Picks, Book Passage
“Sherman’s sprawling research carries the book. She weaves the comfort and complacence of the wealthier people together with the grim desperation of the poor, the comforting, sustaining rituals of the Jews together with the hysterical ignorance of the larger society that vents all its terror on them, slaughter together with a sustaining ritual life. Great scenes abound – a deadly stampede to board a train; flights through snow and icy rivers toward some illusion of safety; tender moments of faith and hope.”The Historical Novels Review
“Berta Lorkis is materialistic, self-centered, and egotistical…she makes for a fascinating main character in Susan Sherman’s The Little Russian. Covering more than twenty years, [the novel] focuses on the changes and difficulties Russian Jews faced in the early years of the 20th century…Sherman does a wonderful job showing Berta’s many layered personality. This is a good choice for book clubs since readers’ feelings about Berta should generate a good discussion.”The Reporter
“In The Little Russian, Susan Sherman offers much more than an eloquently gripping narrative set against an explosive backdrop. She is inviting us to consider the too-often unsung heroines of history, the women whose ferocious willpower and dazzling ingenuity can be more potent than gunpowder when it comes to changing the world.”Elizabeth Rosner, Los Angeles Review of Books
“Moving and smart, The Little Russian is a sweeping tale of survival, loss, love, loyalty, family, religion, racism, and war. Sherman masterfully blends history into fiction, delivering a self- assured, elegant debut.”Victoria Patterson, author of This Vacant Paradise
“Powerful, harrowing, and richly atmospheric, Susan Sherman’s unflinching debut novel captures the enduring light of the human spirit when faced with the darkness of unimaginable loss. It’s a captivating read told through a voice we won’t soon forget.”Ilie Ruby, author of The Language of Trees
“In Sherman’s sweeping novel, Berta Alshonsky is a Russian Scarlett O’Hara, surviving the tsarist regime, the first world war, and the Russian revolution with the only weapons available to her-grit and charm. Jewish life in the Ukraine, with its dizzying contrasts of mansions and shtetls, jewelry and pogroms, aristocrats and revolutionaries, is rendered in aching detail in this fabulous debut.”Adrienne Sharp, author of The True Memoirs of Little K
“Susan Sherman led me down the tumultuous streets of Imperial Russia with the mastery of a born storyteller. The world of The Little Russian is so vivid that Berta’s journey quickly became my own. I could not put it down.”Oksana Marafioti, author of American Gypsy
“Detail by luscious detail, Sherman creates a stunning portrait of a young Jewish woman’s struggle to survive in turn-of-the-century Russia.”Kathryn Kay, author of The Gilder
“Entrancing, meticulously researched . . . The Little Russian is a masterful study of one woman’s fight to stay afloat and alive in an era in which governance was consolidated with oppression and barbarism . . . Sherman keeps us guessing as to whether her heroine can make it over the border to be reunited with her given-up-for-lost Hershel, and we devour the last pages greedily.”Malcolm Forbes, Rain Taxi