Book Review: Zuleikha by Guzel Yakhina

Zuleikha is a story inspired by real life events in the early post-communist era in Russia. During the 1930s tough sanctions were placed by the then Government on all those Kulaks who owned over 8 acres of land, by requisitioning wheat and other eatables from them.  Later the same people were de-Kulakized by forcibly moving them out of their lands, depriving them of their possessions and forcing them to move to Siberia under harsh and hostile conditions. It is said that thousands perished during the forced migration to Siberia and still more died of starvation, absence of facilities and other factors. The de-Kulakized people were forced to work under harsh conditions and Political (communist) commanders were appointed over them to eke out work form them. It is a story of pain and suffering, of loss, of survival, of hope and of finding love. Zuleikha is the story of a one such woman.

Guzel Yakhina has done a wonderful job of writing this book, which according to some accounts is her grandmother’s story.