Author: Peter Golden
Type of book: 1950s-1964, New Jersey, family secrets, thriller/spy, strong heroine, WWII in Russia as experienced by Jews, forbidden music, grandmother/grandson relationship, secrets, spying, double dealing.
Year it was published: 2017
From the beloved author of Comeback Love and Wherever There Is Light, comes a novel about the life-changing journey of a young man who travels from New Jersey to Khrushchev’s Russia and the beaches of Southern France as he finds love and discovers the long-hidden secrets about his heritage.
In 1950s New Jersey, Michael Daniels launches a radio show in the storage room of his Russian-Jewish grandmother’s candy store. Not only does the show become a local hit because of his running satires of USSR leader Nikita Khrushchev, but half a world away, it picks up listeners in a small Soviet city.
There, with rock and roll leaking in through bootlegged airwaves, Yulianna Kosoy—a war orphan in her mid-twenties—is sneaking American goods into the country with her boss, Der Schmuggler.
But just as Michael’s radio show is taking off, his grandmother is murdered in the candy store. Why anyone would commit such an atrocity against such a warm, affable woman is anyone’s guess. But she had always been secretive about her past and, as Michael discovers, guarded a shadowy ancestral history. In order to solve the mystery of who killed her, Michael sets out to Europe to learn where he—and his grandmother—really came from.
Featuring Peter Golden’s signature “vivid characters and strong storytelling” (The Washington Post), Nothing Is Forgotten changes our understanding of the impact of World War II on its survivors and their descendants, and will appeal to fans of novels by Anita Diamant and Kristin Hannah.
Main characters included Michael Daniels aka Dainov, a Russian-Jew who became a radio DJ of sorts to play music but then his radio show became popular and spun out of control, even playing as far away as Germany and Russia. He is best described as creative, loyal and someone extremely resourceful. Yuliana is an orphaned Jew of Russian descent who lives with a man named Der Smugler. She has many secrets that she doesn't want for Michael to know, and she is also extremely paranoid when it comes to life. Other characters would have included Michael's beloved grandmother whom on the outside is sweet, gentle and is determined to raise her grandson after his family's tragic death, but who has her own secrets she must keep. Other characters are best described as resourceful and people who pretty much have each finger in a pie.
You never know what secrets your family hides
Primarily the story is from Michael Daniels' point of view as well as Yuliana's. Michael's is first person narrative, while Yuliana is third person narrative. I found the tale to be pretty interesting and really enjoyed seeing the Russian-Jews' WWII also acknowledged. The beginning aspect was really reminiscent of MY MOTHER'S SON by David Hirshberg, which I have reviewed for Fresh Fiction website. The middle of the story as well as the end weren't as tense as I thought they'd be.
About the Author
Peter Golden is an award-winning journalist, novelist, biographer, and historian. He lives outside Albany, New York, with his wife and son. He is the acclaimed author of the novels Comeback Love, Wherever There Is Light, and Nothing Is Forgotten.
For more information, please visit Peter Golden’s website. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
I was pretty excited to read it because for one it dealt with Russia in 1960s, the time my parents were young children, and I also was excited that the main characters were Jews and that the story wasn't over taken by neither WWII nor Holocaust. I also loved that the story covered the ways Jews in Russia and in Ukraine were murdered, which many Americans don't really know about, as sad as I am to say. While these topics were copiously covered, other heavy topics relating to Michael Daniels' family seemed to be brushed over and weren't really answered as I wished. Coming into the story, I expected historical fiction, but instead the story was more of a spy/thriller as well as a who-done-it and historical fiction aspect was right at the beginning. I think I expected quite a lot from the book, and unfortunately it didn't end up meeting my expectations. Also, one minor point I want to make is that it wasn't until we moved to America that we heard of Anne Frank. (My parents were children in the '60s, and I asked them about Anne Frank and whether or not they have heard or read her diary. Their answer: They haven't.)
This is for HFVBT
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4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)