One morning in June 1941, a quiet village in Central Lithuania is shaken out of its slumber by the sudden arrival of the Soviet Army. Eight-year-old Algiukas awakes to the sound of Russian soldiers pounding on the door. His family are given ten minutes to pack up their things. They are not told where they’re going or for how long.
An airless freight train carries them from the fertile lands of rural Lithuania to the snowy plains of the Siberian taiga. There, in the distant, dismal North, they begin a life marked by endless hunger and unrelenting cold. And yet the darkness of exile is lightened, for Algiukas, by flights of imagination. This curious, brave and adaptable child transforms hardship into adventure.
Drawing on her father’s exile in Siberia, writer Jurga Vile brings to light a neglected, even suppressed, episode from the history of the Soviet Union. Beautifully drawn by Lina Itagaki, Siberian Haiku uses the child’s perspective to tell an unforgettable story of courage and human endurance.
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