It’s no secret that Alexandra Silber is one of our theater’s finest singing actors. But who knew she was a thrilling novelist as well? After Anatevka does Fiddler on the Roof proud.
This phenomenal story carries the light tone of the earlier musical and the vacillating light and dark moods of Russian literature, all sensitively balanced with perfect timing. A gorgeous, captivating story that truly deserves the name of great historical fiction. Alexandra Silber is notably knowledgeable about her topic, but most of all inserts the ‘Russian soul’ into it that earns it the hallmark of being called classic literature. Extraordinary! (Editor’s Choice)
Silber’s admirable continuation imagines Hodel’s life in two post-Fiddler periods: Hodel’s courtship with and engagement to the scholarly Perchik, and her attempts years later to reunite with him after he is sent to a forced labor camp. Silber, an actress who played both Hodel and Tzeitzel in productions of the musical, imbues the book with obvious fondness for and understanding of the characters...the moving story and attention to detail will make this an enjoyable trip for any fan of Fiddler on the Roof.
[After Anatevka] is a fully realized, thoughtful literary novel that can also stand alone. The strength of [Hodel and Perchik’s] deep romantic bond is emphasized throughout. Fans of the musical and anyone interested in the plight of the Jews in czarist Russia will appreciate this multi-talented author’s work.
While most actors do research for a role, Alexandra Silber has gone above, beyond, and below as she follows these characters of out of the story of Fiddler on the Roof and into the wider world. Who knew this accomplished actress was an equally accomplished spinner of tales? Told with skill and depth of emotion, After Anatevka is something quite miraculous.
[After Anatevka] is a meticulously detailed story that paints a strangely recognisable picture of Russia’s imposing and corrupt hierarchy and the hardships wreaked upon those who offended the State. There are nosings of both Dostoevsky and Pasternak in Silber’s work and she paints a picture of violence and violation as the backdrop to Hodel’s remarkable quest to reach her betrothed and the life that they were to build amongst the salt mines of the East.Silber’s research has been thorough. Aside from studying archives of the vanished Jewish world of the Pale of Settlement she visited Siberia to understand for herself the detail and character of the region.And yet, as well as the projecting the characters into their imagined futures, Silber also offers some charmingly imagined back-stories from the world of Anatevka that can only have come from a woman who has well and truly got under the skin of Tevye’s daughters. For not only did Silber play Hodel in the UK, but two years ago in New York, when producers were searching for a Tzeitel for Bartlett Sher’s (also acclaimed) revival of Fiddler, it was Sheldon Harnick himself who was to call Silber and ask her to re-visit his show, this time playing Tevye’s oldest daughter. Silber of course was again magnificent on stage and as an aside, the bond between Harnick and Silber is clear for the gifted lyricist has penned a sage and heartfelt foreword to the book.Silber explores how the sisters grew up together. She offers Hodel’s wistful perceptions on her older sister’s strengths and capabilities, describing their shared childhood and how much their mother imbued in them the strengths and spiritual importance of ‘tradition”. The paragraphs in which Hodel recalls Golde instructing the girls in how to bake challah (the Jewish plaited loaf eaten on Sabbath) are but one example of the delightful detail with which Silber fleshes out her world.There’s also a fascinating back story to Perchik. Who would have guessed that this inspirationally handsome communist had started life as an accountant? Though while Perchik is surely no Leo Bloom, Silber breathes a fascinating life into his own troubled past After Anatevka is an impressive published debut. Alexandra Silber offers a profoundly perceptive yet quintessentially female take on a world in which tradition was both revered and challenged. Silber also gives us a stunning study into the power of love.
A serious and poignant historical fiction.
After Anatevka serves not only as a fitting sequel to a beloved tale, but as a new classic of its own. Alexandra Silber is a masterful storyteller with a poet’s gift for language and a romantic’s heart. Her novel is pure joy. I can only hope that a musical version is already in the making and that this old actor might have a moment with her onstage as her ‘Papa.’ Enjoy this amazing tale and let your heart sing. L’chaim!
After Anatevka is a page-turner: A gorgeous love story, both intimate and epic. Alexandra lovingly and sumptuously picks up where Shalom Aleichem left off. It’s the next great Russian novel! I feel like a proud papa when I tell you that not only is Alexandra a brilliant actress, but she’s also a gifted novelist.