Author(s): BEN G FRANK
A gripping account of the Russian Civil War and its consequences, this historical novel introduces an unforgettable heroine. A few weeks after the October Bolshevik Revolution, as civil war looms, an argument ensues in the Jewish home of the Rasputnis family over who should make the long trek to Canada to find their father. He left Odessa for work in Winnipeg to send money for the family to join him, but no one has heard from him in months. Despite objection from her ambitious younger brother, it is 17-year-old Klara who is nominated for this impossible task. Leaving Moscow on the newly built Trans-Siberian railway she confronts threadbare armies, famished beggars, violent protesters, and her own hunger, but defies the odds when she meets a young soldier who offers her protection. Painstakingly researched, this vivid portrait exposes the violence of the time and explains why many Russian Jews left for America -- all within the realm of an adventurous and enduring love story. A brief historical and political synopsis of the events around Klara's travels is provided at the beginning of each chapter.
"In vivid, compelling style, Ben Frank takes us on the remarkable odyssey of an intrepid Jewish girl through the chaotic social and political kaleidoscope of Russia on the eve of World War I. One is swept up in the powerful narrative flow and poignant story of displacement, first love and the challenge of forging a new life in a daunting new land." -- Raphael Rothstein, 15Minutesmagazine.com "Amazing novel by a skilled writer... A roller coaster of an adventure through Jewish and Russian History. One of the best books I have ever come across! I could not put it down!" -- Danny Levine, owner, J Levine Judaica Bookstore in New York City "Klara's Journey, with its passion, images, location, time frame and narrative drive seems like a reprise of Doctor Zivago. It is the heart wrenching story of a Jewish teenager's search for her father in the vast Siberian tundra during the chaotic days of the Russian Civil War. A human struggle of epic proportions, Klara's Journey , will linger in the mind long after the story unfolds." -- Warren Adler, author, "The War of the Roses" & "The Serpent's Bite" "Klara's Journey is an epic tale of courage and conviction, love and betrayal. An affecting, involving adventure." -- Judith Kelman, author, "Summer of Storms" "What a fascinating character Ben G. Frank has created in Klara. She shows extraordinary courage in learning how to survive during revolution, two world wars and terror. Searching for her father, she wanders through half the world and learns the truth about who she is. The author, a skilled travel writer, weaves into his story what many Jews suffered and overcame during the turbulent 20th Century." -- Ruth Gruber, author, "Raquela: A Woman of Israel", "Exodus: 1947", "The Ship That Launched the Nation" & "Rescue: The Exodus of the Ethiopian Jews" "With a name like Rasputnis, Klara would have to be a remarkable person to survive the almost impossible circumstances and adventures she encounters in her escape from the infamous Bolshevik Revolution and horrific Russian Civil War some 90 years ago. Frank, a well-known travel-writer brings to life not only the compelling storyline of his first novel but the frigid and barren wasteland that Klara had to traverse as she flees Odessa, through the icy Siberian cities of Cheliabinsk, Irkutsk, Chita, Harbin, and Vladivostok. An indomitable soul, Klara ultimately finds her destiny in a surprise rapproachment with her libertine father who had abandoned her and her family many years ago, in Vancouver Canada." -- Lewis Burke Frumkes, Director of the Hunter College Writing Center, New York City; author, "Favorite Words of Famous People" "Ben Frank has made skillful use of his longtime expertise in researching the cultural and religious history of the far-flung diaspora of the Jewish people throughout the world and creating this credible and compelling novel about a passionate young woman. Caught in the maelstrom of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the ensuing years of civil war, Klara's Odyssey from Odessa eastward through Siberia in hope of reuniting with her father in Canada is more than a suspenseful personal story. It is a microcosm of the determination and courage of hundreds of thousands of Jews and non-Jews determined to escape the oppressive rule of the Russian tsars and find freedom in America and other welcoming countries. Kudos to a gifted travel writer for his new genre as novelist." -- Gene Sosin, Ph.D., former senior executive of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Ben G. Frank is the author of "The Scattered Tribe," "A Travel Guide to the Jewish Caribbean and South America," "A Travel Guide to Jewish Europe," and "A Travel Guide to Jewish Russia and Ukraine." He has published articles in "Hadassah Magazine," the" Jerusalem Post," "Jewish Frontier," "Jewish Press," "Jewish Week," " National Jewish Monthly of B'nai B'rith," and "Reform Judaism Magazine." He lives in Boynton Beach, Florida.