Under This Unbroken Sky

Under This Unbroken Sky

4.03 (1,181 ratings by Goodreads)
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The story of an immigrant family trying to build a life in an unforgiving new world, Under This Unbroken Sky is a mesmerizing and absorbing first novel of love and greed, pride and desperation. Award-winning writer Shandi Mitchell based this evocative and compelling narrative of struggle and survival on the Canadian prairie on her own family history.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 481 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 33.02mm | 544.31g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Large type / large print
  • Large type / large print edition
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0061885266
  • 9780061885266

Back cover copy

Evocative and compelling, rich in imagination and atmosphere, Under This Unbroken Sky is a beautifully wrought debut from a gifted new novelist.

Spring 1938. After nearly two years in prison for the crime of stealing his own grain, Ukrainian immigrant Teodor Mykolayenko is a free man. While he was gone, his wife, Maria; their five children; and his sister, Anna, struggled to survive on the harsh northern Canadian prairie, but now Teodor--a man who has overcome drought, starvation, and Stalin's purges--is determined to make a better life for them. As he tirelessly clears the untamed land, Teodor begins to heal himself and his children. But the family's hopes and newfound happiness are short-lived. Anna's rogue husband, the arrogant and scheming Stefan, unexpectedly returns, stirring up rancor and discord that will end in violence and tragedy.

Under This Unbroken Sky is a mesmerizing tale of love and greed, pride and desperation, that will resonate long after the last page is turned. Shandi Mitchell has woven an unbearably suspenseful story, written in a language of luminous beauty and clarity. Rich with fiery conflict and culminating in a gut-wrenching climax, this is an unforgettably powerful novel from a passionate new voice in contemporary literature.
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Review quote

Unforgettable. . . . Mitchell s extraordinary rendering of human suffering is matched by her ability to give powerful imaginative shape to the will to survive, to care for others, and to forgive the most brutal of trespasses. --Janice Kulyk Keefer, author of The Ladies' Lending Library"
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Rating details

1,181 ratings
4.03 out of 5 stars
5 33% (389)
4 44% (523)
3 17% (206)
2 4% (52)
1 1% (11)

Our customer reviews

The story begins with the description of a black-and-white photograph. A man, a woman and five children. The date on the photograph is 1933, the place Willow Creek, Alberta. There are times when I pick up an old photograph of my grandparents or my parents and I spend time thinking about the history behind the faces. What were their desires? What heartbreak did they experience? What hopes and dreams did they have and were those fulfilled or abandoned? Why? Shandi Mitchell addresses these questions by taking her readers through a period of time in which life was very hard. She introduces us to a family of immigrants, their origin Ukraine. They struggle with learning language and dealing with foreign laws, laws which prevent them from even being able to provide their children with food. UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY studies the relationship between a brother and a sister and their families. It paints a heart-breaking picture in graphic, real strokes. My heart broke and broke again as I felt each families struggle, felt myself grow angry at the injustice of the actions of both the law and the members of the families. I could feel the tension building with each pounding on the door I read about and every howl of the coyotes in the night air. Recently I read a book that dealt with the struggle of the immigration process in a more recent time period. That book followed the path of a young Chinese girl and her experience in the sweat shops in New York. UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY gave me a more historical perspective and reminded me that although we may say we have come a long way - even in recent times there are people living in the hardships described in this story. This book tore at my heart and should be a "must read" for anyone interested in historical literature.show more
by Lydia Presley
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