“…compelling and important—immigrants like the Kolopskys helped make America into the land readers recognize today (Israel, too).” —Kirkus Reviews

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Cover of Novel Odessa, Odessa by Barbara Artson

Barbara Artson’s epic novel follows the fates and families of two sons from a proud lineage of rabbis and cantors in a shtetl near Odessa in western Russia.

It begins as Henya, wife of Rabbi Mendel Kolopsky, considers her unexpected pregnancy and the hardship for the children they already have. One night after the baby is born, Cossacks ransack their home, severely beating Mendel. In the aftermath, he remembers arguments with his older brother Shimshon about escaping the anti-Jewish pogroms. Shimshon did leave, vowing to support the socialist movement. Mendel started a family, keeping faith and upholding tradition. As the night ends, Mendel tells Henya he now believes going to America is the answer. Henya only knows that their future will be perilous—their infant daughter has slept through the melee and is surely deaf. So unfolds the story of one family in the Russian migration of the early 20th century.

Odessa, Odessa explores every emigrant’s fear: What future is possible if I leave my country? What if I leave without family? It is a harrowing tale of love, faith and tradition, revealing how the mysterious ties that hold a family together can help them survive the  heartache of separation and loss, and how secrets about heritage can finally be uncovered.