Silber, Alexandra . “After Anatevka: A Novel Inspired by “Fiddler on the Roof””, Pegasus, 2017.
Hodel and Perchik
When the great American musical ends, we are left wondering how the characters fare after the curtain drops or the screen goes black. For the two hours before that Tevye and his family have become part of us and this is one of the beautiful aspects of the story. Alexandra Silber knows the story well; she played Tzeitel in the recent revival of “Fiddler” on Broadway and in “After Anatevka”, she tells us what happened after Hodel left the stage. The last we saw or heard about her she was with her father at the train station preparing to board the train that would take her to join Perchik, her fiancé, in Siberia.
Before I actually began reading this, I wondered if I really wanted to know what happened later. Like so many others, “Fiddler” was a personal experience for me and to be left wondering what happened later kept the story alive in my mind since I could have it end the way I wanted. However, curiosity got the best of me.
Writer Silber opens her story with prologue during which Perchik proposes to Hodel and she accepts. We then join her in Siberia where Hodel is in prison. We are with her as she deals with many trials and meets many people, never losing her personal strength and courage. Her story is reminiscent of the great Russian historical novels as she gives us her re-imaging of “the rest of the story. Great literature this is not yet it is a fun and quick read.
This is a beautiful love story and we do not have to know the original in order to enjoy it. If you do, however, it s that much better. While this is basically Hodel’s story, we also read about how it was for Hodel to live with her father and four sisters in flashbacks. By doing this, we see the severity of life in Siberia and compared to life in the sthetl. Having been a member of a close family, Hodel then has to dear with the loneliness that is Siberia.
Hodel was the second eldest daughter of Tevye and Golda and she did not have an easy time dealing with everything that was against her and Perchik and there were not all political problems. As we read here there were also personal problems to be faced. Therefore this is more than a love story; it is a coming-of-age tale as well. It is a story that is both epic and intimate and like the original, we laugh and we cry as we read.