Thursday, August 20, 2015




Title: The Boy Who Stole Attila's Horse
Author: Ivan Repila
Publisher: Pushkin press
Length: 112 pages
Release date:  November 10 2015


Powerful, disquieting and highly original, Repila's unique allegory explores with bravery and emotion the debth of human desperation and, ultimately, our almost unending capacity for hope.

My review;

This novel could be about a deep well, where two children find themselves, it could be about prisoners of war, sequestered in a small hut, unable to escape...or it could also be your neighbors, living a life of also reminded me of Korea, the simple everyday fight for survival in a totalitarian state. It is about any circumstance which challenges the human will to live, to survive in the face of unimaginable challenges.

Author Yván Repila chose to tell us the story by giving voice to two children, who find themselves in a deep well. Big and Small are brothers, how they fell into the well isn't readily clear, until later. How can two individuals live in such a small space, with little hope of ever being found, without being able to climb out...with death and starvation their constant companions. The human spirit is an amazing gift, through these boys the author answers the question: why do some survive and others do not, without spoiling his tale, the answer isn't necessarily what we have grown to believe.

On a personal note, there is so much beauty, insight, and knowledge in these few pages, it made me wonder if the author had experienced a suffering which gave him such a clear view on the subject of survival.
I admire his choice of children in an otherwise adult novel. Children are pure at heart, their emotions lay at the surface, truth is readily spoken.
These brothers came to life for me, I feared for them, I even found myself with tears, which doesn't which doesn't happen often.
I would like to see other novels by Iván Repila translated.
I highly recommend this novel.


Thank you to Pushkin press and NetGalley for allowing me to read this novel in return for an honest review


Bellezza Mjs said...

Pushkin Press delivers fantastic books. I have not read this particular title, but thank you for the recommendation. Glad you enjoyed it so much! Not every novel can earn so much enthusiasm.

sylvie said...

It is definitely a tale on the dark side of life, the prose is wonderful, the characters stay with you. It is rare for a novel to take you so deep into the story and protagonists, this novel does.
Yes I agree, I have one ARC which is so one dimensional, I put it aside for now. It bothers me to no end, it garnered rave reviews, I just do not feel it.
My present read by Culum McCann is splendid, love it :)

bermudaonion said...

It's nice to see you blogging again! I'm glad you enjoyed this book.

sylvie said...

Thank you, it is nice to find my blogger friends still blogging, some have stopped.

Anonymous said...

I was approved for this on NetGalley and I’m really looking forward to reading it. I love just about anything from Pushkin Press - their books are always so different from everything else I read and I always find them so interesting.

sylvie said...

I was recently introduced to Pushkin Press through Bellezza. If I am not wrong, they deal with foreign translations, and translations by earlier authors, 1900 on. They also chose from the best. I have a small collection, not a bad book among them.
Let me know how you like The boy who stole Attila's horse. It is a dark tale, yet it kept me reading. The author is a contemporary writer.