All the Light We Cannot See meets The Nightingale in this literary WWI-era novel and epic love story of a brilliant young doctor who races against Einstein to solve one of the universe's great mysteries.
In Russia, in the summer of 1914, as war with Germany looms and the Czar's army tightens its grip on the local Jewish community, Miri Abramov and her brilliant physicist brother, Vanya, are facing an impossible decision. Since their parents drowned fleeing to America, Miri and Vanya have been raised by their babushka, a famous matchmaker who has taught them to protect themselves at all costs: to fight, to kill if necessary, and always to have an escape plan. But now, with fierce, headstrong Miri on the verge of becoming one of Russia's only female surgeons, and Vanya hoping to solve the final puzzles of Einstein's elusive theory of relativity, can they bear to leave the homeland that has given them so much?
Before they have time to make their choice, war is declared and Vanya goes missing, along with Miri's fiancé. Miri braves the firing squad to go looking for them both. As the eclipse that will change history darkens skies across Russia, not only the safety of Miri's own family but the future of science itself hangs in the balance.
Grounded in real history -- and inspired by the solar eclipse of 1914 -- A Bend in the Stars offers a heart-stopping account of modern science's greatest race amidst the chaos of World War I, and a love story as epic as the railways crossing Russia.
Set in 1914 Kovno, Russia, Barenbaum's rousing debut follows two headstrong siblings striving to build their lives amid the fog and confusion of impending war. Jewish Miri Abramov and her fianc , Yuri, both work as doctors, but Miri is often shunned (even by patients) in a society where a woman surgeon is so uncommon that some even believe she is a witch. Miri's brother, Vanya, is a brilliant physicist bent on expanding and/or disproving Albert Einstein's still unpublished theory of relativity. He believes that proof of his equations lies in the August 1914 solar eclipse, which locals see as an omen of the devil. Vanya hopes to photograph the celestial phenomenon to show that light, in fact, bends as day turns into night. He also hopes to sell a photograph to American scientists, thereby buying safe passage for him, Miri, and Yuri. But as WWI intensifies, Miri is called away to the front lines, and Vanya must risk being captured to complete his observations. Barenbaum deepens the narrative with strong secondary characters marked by competing desires, such as the passions of Russian soldier Sasha Petrov and the deviousness of Russian Kir, who is trying to steal intellectual property. Fans of Kristin Hannah will enjoy Barenbaum's exhilarating tale.
Bend in the stars
This book is a historical fiction about the plight of Russian Jews during the time of Einstein coming up with the theory of relativity. The characters were intriguing and the author does a nice job of educating us about Jewish traditions. I did not like that the author gave credit to a fictional character for relativity. She could have used him finding the elliptical photographs to prove this instead of him coming up with the ‘elevator’ theory which was clearly Einstein’s discovery.
The thing I liked the most is how she related to the Russian Jews. I read there were over 150,000 murders of Russian Jews and almost countless rapes of women during this period, prior to the holocaust. It was nice to see this plight brought out which is rarely written about.
A very brilliant page turner and learned so much about
Send it back to the stars
Heard about this book through a positive author interview on NPR. It sounded interesting so I gave it a try. I struggled half way through it and gave up out of boredom. Very shallow and obvious characters and a trivial and uninteresting and equally obvious plot. Even the relativity part is not very good. There’s nothing here to actually get get engrossed in and care about. Real disappointment give the positive tone of the review.