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Winner of the 2013 Margaret McWilliams Award for Popular History
Things are not well with the Wittenbergs. Alice has given birth to her second child with a genetic disorder. Millicent has withdrawn into a depression. Joseph must choose between being principal of George Sutton Collegiate and the new English teacher who's caught his eye. And Mia finds herself at the mercy of an unsympathetic teacher while her attractive athletic neighbour ignores her. Only the oldest Wittenberg, the matriarch who holds the key to the family's Mennonite past, can lead her family along the banks of the Dnieper and toward a better tomorrow.
What a marvel of a character Sarah Klassen has created in Mia Wittenberg, an open-hearted teenager who holds a troubled family's past and present in her steady gaze.
Joan Thomas, author of Curiosity
In The Wittenbergs, [Sarah Klassen] uses graceful prose and a fluid story structure to explore themes of guilt, atonement, responsibility, belonging and, above all, finding meaning in a Mennonite heritage.
Kathryne Cardwell, Winnipeg Free Press
[Klassen's] writing is powerful, incredibly lyrical, and the characters hard to shake.
Elin Thordarson, The Winnipeg Review
Klassen masterfully weaves a story of a past family history with a more recent time.
As one might expect in a novel by a poet, descriptions are sensual and minimal.
The novel is a kind of compilation of literary, biblical, and musical influences and inheritences; at times it almost seems to sing itself.
Journal of Mennonite Studies
Klassen has made her name as an award-winning poet; this is her first effort as a novelist. Her poetic impulse makes The Wittenbergs a lovely reading experience, with striking images...
Melanie Springer Mock, The Mennonite Quarterly Review
Delicately written, the novel weaves threads of hope into the lives of its characters.
Reece Steinberg, Canadian Literature
With acuity and detail, Klassen captures the various ways one can be both burdened and unbound by the vicissitudes of fortune and of history.
Klassen's exquisite storytelling provokes us to care about this family, and we long to learn of their fate.
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