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THE ROAD OF BONES by Anne Fine Kirkus Star


by Anne Fine

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: May 8th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-374-36316-1
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

In a “sort-of Russia, in a sort-of 1930s, under a Stalin-type leader,” young Yuri casually criticizes his government and must immediately flee to the countryside, beginning a dark journey across a broken land. He finds work felling trees and working in a chicken house on a communal farm, but again speaks out and is transported to a Siberian labor camp, sentenced to ten years’ hard labor. Fine’s novel of ideas takes the form of an escape adventure and succeeds brilliantly on three levels: The crushing atmosphere of Stalinist Russia is brilliantly evoked; Yuri is a memorable character who retains his humanity in the face of all that was inhumane; and political ideas are made palpable as Yuri and other characters reflect upon their conditions. When Yuri escapes the labor camp and heads west, he knows he is not the same person he was. He will spend the rest of his life working to change things for the better, while realizing the dangers of believing too much in new leaders and their causes. A dark, intelligent novel for older readers. (author’s note) (Fiction. 12+)