Sliding on the Snow Stone is a true story about a boy named Stefan and his family who lived in a small village in the Ukraine during the man made famine, invasion, and occupation of that country by Stalinist Russia in 1932-1933, and through World War II. In spite of the dark nature of the subject matter, Sliding on the Snow Stone is an easy and enjoyable read. Perhaps Szpuk’s greatest achievement is to present the tragic story through the eyes of innocence, allowing the reader to navigate the subject without duress. The story showcases the resilience of humanity even in the face of unspeakable suffering.
Stefan tells his story of survival, loss, faith, sacrifice, and love of family and country. The backdrop to Stefan’s coming of age saga is the monstrosity of war and starvation. I loved this book because it resonated with the stories handed down from my Ukrainian parents, who were born in a small Ukrainian village in 1919. My parents didn’t often speak of that terrible famine, but I did hear their stories from time to time. I think my parents suffered greatly, but spoke little of it, in order to protect my five siblings and me from bad memories.
I suspect that conditions during the man made Ukrainian famine were much worse than my parents were willing to admit. Szpuk makes this dark chapter in human history an enjoyable learning experience, and gives the reader a beautiful ending. Ukrainians or anyone interested in history, especially the events leading up to the Second World War, would enjoy Sliding on the Snow Stone. Szpuk presents a cruel and often overlooked slice of history in an engaging and palatable work.
Commentary by Andy Szpuk, author of "Sliding on the Snow Stone"
Many thanks to your wife for reading Sliding on the Snow Stone.
Writing it was a profound and powerful experience and led to a significant amount of personal growth for me. It was certainly the most important project I'll ever work on. Whether it was the hand of God, or fate, or simply good fortune, I'll never know but somehow history conspired for some very talented individuals to help me out with completing the book. I would have finished it myself without doubt, I was determined to do so, but the quality was raised from the help I received.
I've reflected deeply on the story and what it means in the broadest sense, and the meaning of freedom has become something more complex than can be encapsulated in one word. We are so lucky in the affluent western world, most of us have enough to eat, and yet there are still conflicts and badness. Maybe freedom is the most valuable thing we possess, if we still possess it?
I'm currently working on FATE AND CIRCUMSTANCE, a historical novel about the Lemkos, an ethnic group who lived in the Carpathian Mountains, and who, following World War Two were forcibly evicted from their homes,
Good luck with your own writing, I have to say, your site is very impressive, well done!