Customer Reviews for

Under a Red Sky: Memoir of a Childhood in Communist Romania

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
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  • Posted April 27, 2010

    Survival, love, and determination in a crowded Bucharest flat post-WWI.

    My father, an avid labor unionist, once gave a radio speach comparing Communism and Socialism. He detailed similarities between the Red menace and the Pink of Socialism. To this inquisitive eight year-old, his explanations coupled blazing red sunset with deep night darkness and menace with WWII autrocities. And thus, from the very first page this reader became one with the young girl of Molnar's memoir.

    Imagine living in a place and time where food is painfully scarce; privacy is only a state of mind; and conversational spontaneity brings fear of suspicion. Can you fathom the terror of a police state? The author's extrordinary story-telling skill brings these realities to the pages of her memoir. Her research is evident in the details of the narrative.

    Eva Zimmerman spends her early years in the cramped quarters of a small flat with seven adult family members. The reader becomes totally immersed in family dynamics and personalities. Molnar's memories make you a part of the whole experience. You can taste the tears of their frustrations and feel the strength of their love. In the end (but it is not really the end!) you are a part of their dangerous choice to escape their beloved Romania.

    To be sure, one does not find only milk and honey upon reaching a "promised land." One is still a stranger in a strange land. Molnar MUST allow us to continue her journey with her! This reader looks forward with great anticipation to another truly sensational book!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2010

    Wonderful Page Turner

    Told through the eyes of a child, this memoir paints a vivid, warm and humorous portrait of a Jewish family in Communist Romania in the late 1950"s and early 1960"s.
    The book traces the struggles of the author's family to survive in an oppressive society.
    Finally they bravely decide to apply for permission to leave the country. That decision has profound effects on the lives of each of the people living in the small apartment.
    The author skillfully brings the reader into this world so different from our own. By the end we truly feel that we know the people very well.
    This is an uplifting story for readers of all ages. You'll be glad you read it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2010

    a moving page-turner

    Once you start this poignant memoir, you won't be able to put it down. A fascinating coming-of-age story that touches upon a range of themes and subjects--among them immigration, self-reliance, family intimacy and secrets, Jewish life and faith, the nature of childhood friendships, duplicity, discrimination, and life in a post-WWII Communist country--this book is as appealing and compelling for adults as it is for younger readers. But ultimately, it's the beautifully rendered details and the lovable but prickly family members depicted who keep this engaging narrative moving and make it unforgettable.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2010

    A story one will not forget.

    Under A Red Sky is a very compelling and unforgettable story told from the young girl's point of view, of her real life experiences in a world that is hard to imagine. Each word, each sentence, each paragraph, each chapter elicits such a strong emotional and visual response that needless to say, stimulates the imagination that is far beyond the world we live in today. A must read for anyone who has a desire to be entertained and to learn.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2010

    Vivid, Warm & A Must Read

    This lovely book brings you in a world that's difficult to imagine for a young girl but oh so real -- as a Jewish family behind the Iron Curtain in Communist Romania. The characters are exquisite and so real. The narrative is fluid and easy. What a wonderful snapshot of a young girl's life in such challenging times - but her entire family is devoted to making sure the young girl enjoys her childhood and thrives through great love and care by a family full of the most wonderful characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2011

    A Fantastic and Inspiring Story About Freedom from Oppression

    I enthusiastically recommend this wonderful book that was so compelling and moving, that I wanted the book to continue past the end because I cared so much about the central characters who are beginning a new and exciting chapter in their lives. This is the story of a Jewish family struggling to survive in "Cold War" Romania in the 1950's as seen through the eyes of Eva, the child in the family. I felt like I was getting an education about Communist Romania in the context of a heroic family striving to maintain its identity in the face of relentless government pressures to conform to the ideals of the totalitarian state. Haya Leah Molnar (Eva's Hebrew Name) is truly a gifted writer. I consider her a painter as well, because Haya paints memorable pictures with her words that absorb the attention of the reader. Her pictures are connected to human emotions that are windows into our very souls.
    Eva's family hides her Jewish identity from her for her own protection. She gradually learns about her Jewish roots and the Torah through secretive visits to a Rabbi. Although these meetings put both Eva and her family at great risk, Eva's family is willing to chance it so Eva has the opportunity to encounter and nurture her Jewish identity. I would subtitle this book, "A Tree of Life Grows in Bucharest." Eva takes her readers along on her inspiring journey that leaves one feeling more hopeful and courageous about the possibilities for growth in a repressive society.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2010

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