Thursday, July 13, 2017

After Anatevka by Alexandra Silber, a stand-alone sequel to Fiddler on the Roof

Grammy-nominated singer and actress Silber’s fiction debut is a sequel to Fiddler on the Roof, a show whose characters she has interpreted on the international stage. Notably, it’s a fully realized, thoughtful literary novel that can also stand alone.

The story follows Hodel, a young woman imprisoned in Omsk while attempting to reunite with her fiancĂ©, Perchik, a Socialist activist who was taken to a Siberian labor camp. Each of the book’s three parts contains a well-developed character arc, and, like Fiddler itself, it contrasts the warmth of Old World traditions with the harsh treatment endured by the Jewish people.

The settings have a you-are-there feel, from Hodel’s memories of sisterhood and braiding challah back home in Anatevka; to salt-encrusted, remote Siberia, which has its own stark beauty; to the brutality of prison life as the couple’s world grows increasingly dark. The strength of their deep romantic bond is emphasized throughout.

Fans of the musical and anyone interested in the plight of the Jews in czarist Russia will appreciate this multitalented author’s work.

After Anatevka was published last Tuesday by Pegasus (336pp).  This review first appeared in the June issue of Booklist.  It's in the review, but it's worth restating: you don't have to be familiar with Fiddler on the Roof to appreciate this novel, as sufficient back-story for the characters is provided.

Read more about the novel's own back-story in the New York Times, which discusses the author's reasons for writing the novel and some of her research.


  1. I listened to an interview with the author a couple of weeks ago, which made me want to read this book! Just soze you no I am not making this up --


    Love, C.

    1. Oh yes! I left a comment on that post a little while ago, but it didn't show up - probably technical difficulties on my end. What I remember saying is that the Kirkus review was snooty, but really, did they expect or want a humorous tone to a story set in a Siberian work camp? And there was more to the musical than humor...

    2. Yes indeed, there was far more to the musical than humor. Otherwise I wouldn't have cried.

      I actually saw the show on Broadway, with Zero Mostel, on my first trip to NYC, when I was a tadpole! But since then I've attended several performances put on by various regional groups, professional, and not so. It retains its capacity to move the audience, as it deals with such important and, in some ways, alas, timeless matters.

      Love, C.

    3. I would've loved to have seen that show on stage. The only version I've seen has been the film version, as a child a long time ago. I found some clips online and watched them after finishing the book.