The Last Train to Leningrad

The Last Train to Leningrad

A Novel : Based on A True Story

Book - 2015
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When Franz Funk purchases the large West-Siberian estate Lyubimovka, Village of Love, he thinks he has found the perfect place for his family to put down roots and flourish. It isn’t long, though, before the Bolshevik Revolution, Civil War, and Communism turn his family's pastoral world upside down. As years pass under Stalin's oppressive rule, life becomes increasingly unbearable for the Funks. Emigration seems their only chance for survival. They must risk their lives and their children’s futures as they decide whether it is better to hold on to everything they know and love, or to join a spontaneous migration to Moscow of thousands of people united in the desperate hope they will be allowed to emigrate to the country of their dreams, Canada.The Last Train to Leningrad is not only one family’s story. It is part of a collective story that spans centuries and continents. It is the story of people who choose to become refugees because life as they know it has become impossible. It is the universal story of people seeking a place where they may live peaceably and worship their God in freedom. The Last Train To Leningrad speaks to anyone who has ever sought a safe place to call home.

Publisher: [United States] : CreateSpace, c2015
ISBN: 9781508570851
Branch Call Number: FIC FUN
Characteristics: 247 p. ;,23 cm.

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gloryb
Aug 06, 2017

Reads more like the author's version of his elderly relatives' immigration experience from Russia in the late 1920's than a fiction story. This 9 month ordeal, which is framed by the conception and ultimate birth of a child to the immigrating family, is shared mainly with many other Russian Mennonites who also want to leave Russia. The author makes his main characters appear like humble and simple farmers with a strong religious belief living in a closely knitted Mennonite community where everyone helps others in need. He shows them to be good hearted, exemplary farmers who are generous in paying their peasant farm helpers and devoted to their large families. The women are, of course, excellent housekeepers busying themselves with baking, washing clothes, and keeping the house inside free of bug infestations. The Russians, on the other hand, are the bad guys who just take from the Mennonites, regulate with nonsensical laws, and destroy the settlers' way of life. Even when the author has these Russian characters speak, it is in poor English, not as good as the Mennonites. He describes them as complete opposites to the Mennonites. The Russians in authority whom the characters encounter wear dirty clothes, provide dirty, insect infested homes for the immigrating Mennonites, can't be trusted, and are threatening. Plus they are non-religious. It was this continual contrast that was gradually annoying. The author does however convey the anxiety of these immigrants who faced many road blocks in their desire to leave Russia, but the reader knows that they will make it even though other relatives, friends and acquaintances may not. In an epilogue, the author includes some statistics about this Russian Mennonite immigration and the countries that accepted them.

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