If you are looking for the next book to read, you might consider Dressed for a dance in the Snow. This book written by the award-winning author Monika Zgustova is, concealed a first-hand testimony of a rare horrific historic war crime of our modern time. The author weaved dark war tales into a beautiful, very easy-reading book.
The book is based on true life story of nine different women who were sent to Stalin’s labour camps, Gulag. The book is mainly written in first person narrative as a personal account of each prisoner. And surprisingly humorous for the inhuman experience shared in the entire book.
To better grasp what these women went through, a brief understanding of Gulag labour camps is a must.
“The Gulag was a system of forced labor camps established during Joseph Stalin’s long reign as dictator of the Soviet Union. “Gulag” is an acronym for Glavnoe Upravlenie Lagerei, or Main Camp Administration. The notorious prisons, which incarcerated about 18 million people throughout their history, operated from the 1920s until shortly after Stalin’s death in 1953. At its height, the Gulag network included hundreds of labor camps that held anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 people each. Conditions at the Gulag were brutal: Prisoners could be required to work up to 14 hours a day, often in extreme weather. Many died of starvation, disease or exhaustion—others were simply executed. The atrocities of the Gulag system have had a long-lasting impact that still permeates Russian society today.”
It’s the untold hardship of these nine women in these dreadful and inhuman labour camps that Zgustova captured in these beautiful lines. She interviewed each woman, taking time to paint a vivid picture of their experiences while maintaining the lovely attitude of these women who, after surviving the ordeal of Gulag chose happiness over hatred.
This is a book one must read to complete one’s knowledge of people’s inhumanity to their fellow humans, as well the power of forgiveness and resilience.