Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Accidental Anarchist by Bryna Kranzler - 2012 Sharp Writ Book Awards Winner: Non-fiction

From the Sharp Writ Book Awards judges:

  • This biography is a marvelously funny and touching romp through Eastern Europe and China in the years before WWI, with great detail and characters.
  • This is a very good book - enthralling and gripping.
  • WOW! Could not put this down.  The voice is so authentic and the events are amazing. This is one memoir where both the events and the writing are equal--and equal to the task.
  • Can I give this book a score higher than the highest? I couldn't put it down! Very well written - I could practically hear his voice in my head while I was reading.

Review by Kate Brauning  (review submitted by author) 
     …I found myself so fascinated by The Accidental Anarchist that I thought about it at work, wondered what would happen during dinner, and picked it up each night before bed. Several nights I went to sleep much later than I had intended because I was simply unaware how much time was passing.
     … Marateck endures things most of us can only imagine, and many things we literally couldn’t imagine. His remarkable character enables him to survive while so many others around him don’t. Living in such a volatile time and place, Marateck endures and embraces extraordinary events with a desire for taking risks and living a life that matters. Many of his near-death experiences are due to the inhumane treatment of the Jews at the time, but many are also due to his inability to sit still and let life pass him by.
     One of the things that struck me most about the book was Kranzler’s ability to show the reader Marateck’s humanity. She writes his voice with such consistency that I was barely aware that it wasn’t Marateck himself writing the story. Kranzler pulls together the pieces of his life into a strong central narrative that keeps the reader engrossed. Her writing is infused with Marateck’s dry humor and understated compassion for others, while his character is clearly communicated not only through what he does but also through how he thinks. …Peppered throughout the pages is subtle and helpful historical information that enables the reader to understand a different culture and a different era. Kranzler clearly treated her writing as an art form and uses it to bring to life the story of her grandfather in a compelling and engrossing story.
     So much did I enjoy this book, so much did it prompt me to think, that it is now one of my favorites. I highly recommend picking up a copy of The Accidental Anarchist. The book is entertaining, thought-provoking, and unique. You’ll find it well worth reading.


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