“Have you ever wondered, what a human life is worth?”

On one chilly night, Lina was getting ready for bed, she was wearing her night gown when suddenly, she heard a loud thump on the door. She couldn’t figure out who it was because it was almost midnight and no one bangs on your door at midnight now do they? It could have been her father who wasn’t home from work. Where was he? Lina’s mother opened the door and NKVD marched inside their house and started shouting commands and words that went beyond understanding of Lina. They were being captured. Lina along with her family is then deported by NKVD to labor camps.

What follows is her journey through different places, meeting different survivors and forming relations and tying knots that she could never break. It is a deep emotional journey which goes beyond the quality of being fiction but is rather something that feels real, something that has happened before, like a missing page out of the history books.

Log #1

I have never felt so sorry and sympathetic towards anyone (not even towards people in real life). I have to put this down, I can’t continue this; I have to stop reading this so I can stop……..shivering.

We depend on each other, weather it is due to biological cycle or in a non-biological way; we survive by staying together, supporting each other at both our worst and best times, even if it means sharing a mere thought to make a happy conversation or as sad as sharing a handkerchief to wipe away our tears. Between Shades of Gray have that dependency, its characters depend on each other for survival, they either consciously or unconsciously help someone in their own ways, to support them, so they can feel safe in hell and get through it, together.

There is a line between fiction and reality, sometimes that line is breached: and when that line breached, what you get is something beyond special, something that is worth preserving, something that is not real but it is real. That line is broken by Ruta Sepetys in Between Shades of Gray and it creates a haunting  environment filled with the horrors of real life and it constantly asks the question, “What a human life is worth?”

“No, don’t give them anything Lina, not even your fear.”

Between Shades of Gray questions humanity but in mid-set of all the terror, there is always hope, hope for a better future, hope that things will get better and in the end, that hope, wins.


 

Between Shades of Gray

I did not know what the story was about except it was a historical fiction. I have only read one historical fiction novel before, The Shadow of The Wind and even that was fused with some supernatural elements. So this was my first ‘true’ historical fiction novel. 

This was a carefully constructed story which carried a serious tone from the beginning right until the end; even still there were some heart-warming moments where Sepetys showed her true genius and genuine emotions and a lesson; that no matter how worse the circumstances are, you should never lose that part of yourself which is joy (that’s what I learned from those moments anyway).

I do not have proper words as to describe what I experienced in this story. I might be overreacting a little too much and that is all right by me; because if all historical fictions are like this, I am going to become a cry baby soon.

“We’ve been trying to touch the sky from the bottom of the ocean. If we boost one another, maybe we’d get a little closer.” 

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