Retrato do autor

Zina Rohan

Autor(a) de The Officer's Daughter

4 Works 68 Membros 2 Críticas 1 Favorited

About the Author

Inclui os nomes: Zena Rohan, ZINA ROHAN

Obras por Zina Rohan

The Officer's Daughter (2007) 40 exemplares
The Book of Wishes and Complaints (1991) 15 exemplares
The Small Book (2010) 7 exemplares
The Sandbeetle (1993) 6 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
Local de nascimento
London, England, UK
Locais de residência
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
University of Edinburgh
UK School of Oriental & African Studies
British Broadcasting Corporation

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Zina Rohan was born in London to parents who were both refugees. She studied Russian and Chinese in Edinburgh and then moved to London to complete her degree in Chinese where she also edited a magazine on Afro-Asian affairs and married an Iranian fellow student. In 1978 she joined the BBC World Service to write daily talks and make documentary features. In 1981 she married her second husband, a Czech radio journalist. Whilst he was barred from returning to Czechoslovakia she visited his friends and family every year on his behalf. She still lives in London with her husband and three children.
This info taken from book jacket.



The Officer’s Daughter reminds me, oddly enough, of Huck Finn, if it’s possible to say that about a book set in World War II and crossing much of Poland, the USSR, and into Iran with a stop in England later on. It’s a tale of a young person’s epic journey and ongoing moral crises. No feuding between families, just nations, and plenty of slavery of one sort or other.

On the eve of the German invasion of Poland, Marta Dolniak, a headstrong, overly idealistic, naïve sixteen-year-old Polish girl and her fellow Girl Guides are separated by chance from their families and taken to a convent at the eastern edge of Poland. For the crime of having a father who is an officer in the Polish army, she is arrested by the Russians (at that moment, you’ll recall, Russia was allied with Germany) and taken to Siberia in a boxcar with a group of Jews. Marta has a great deal of growing up to do and she has to do it in the harshest of circumstances. She’s at her best when forced to rise to horrific challenges. She lets herself down with tragic consequences when she has a chance to make her own choices rather than responding to the requirements of war and abuse. As a detailed character study the book excels. The supporting characters are also persuasively and intimately developed. Rohan portrays moments of history with precision and intelligence.

Rohan depicts parts of the war that aren’t usually shown: the plight of Poles caught up as prisoners in the grinding “system” of the USSR and the mass evacuation into exotic places like Tehran of these starved souls once Russia changed its allegiance. Fortunately in the midst of such horrors, one of Rohan’s themes is the willingness of people to stand by each other, to risk themselves for the good of others. Interestingly, a character who vociferously voices the view that Marta should learn to put her own well being first, to act consistently out of self-interest, is the one who sacrifices the most and turns out not to believe his own advice.

The Officer’s Daughter portrays an epic span geographically and emotionally. Rohan employs fully her giant canvas, but the length, 576 pages, does drag the reader down at times, particularly when Marta is bringing self-inflicted misery on herself. I do recommend The Officer’s Daughter for an understanding of a less explored side of World War II and for an extended portrayal of a young woman you admire and want to strangle in turns.
… (mais)
Judith_Starkston | Jul 2, 2012 |
The Small Book opens in 1915 with a doctor’s diary entry from the frontlines of the World War I describing the execution of a private for desertion. “This has been a wretched business. They have made a murderer out of me and all of us who were present.”

While the book quickly jumps to 1946 and later to 1998, the repercussions continue throughout from this soldier’s death at the hands of his own side, although a full understanding of just how these repercussions play out does not come until the very end of the book. Rather than a plot-driven page-turner, The Small Book is primarily a book of ideas arising from this extraordinarily disturbing event with all its implications for the men who were forced to shoot, the man shot, for the family left behind, for the country that chose to condemn its soldier.

Characters give life to The Small Book through the distinctive voices Rohan creates for the multiple narrators. The clear delineation of narrative voices is perhaps Rohan’s most impressive accomplishment. There is no mistaking Pam for Roy, even if the narrative shifts weren’t labeled, and as the book leaps through the stages of the narrators’ lives, so their voices age distinctly and appropriately. Rohan has done a good job of using these voices to reveal the effects of the execution over time. So, for example, Pam, the first major narrator we hear, is locked into a fierce and unquestioning loyalty to the Communist Party in England because of her father’s war experience, and it colors her way of seeing life and her choice of language: “And that was all down to Father, who’d signed up to the Party as soon as it was launched because of the way they’d executed the deserters—well, that’s what they called them—in the First War. First he had the nightmares from having to do it, then he joined the Party. Better to be doing things than having nightmares is what Father always used to say.” Her father was sure the convictions were all to do with class and there’d been an injustice. He imbues his daughter with this sensibility, and it becomes her guiding principle, even to the exclusion of other ways of looking at or for life. There are times when Pam’s limitations grate, but that is the point, I think. The multiple voices provide the needed lenses to unravel both the “what happened” and the “what does it mean.” This is a thinking book.

You will be intrigued with the complex web of events and relationships that is gradually revealed over the course of the book, and the ways in which one historical moment can shape such seemingly unrelated issues as how someone will or will not find lasting love, how children will develop into adults, how the rhythms of daily life will fall into place.
… (mais)
Judith_Starkston | Jul 28, 2011 |



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