© 2024 WYSO
Our Community. Our Nation. Our World.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Book Nook: 'Your Presence is Mandatory' by Sasha Vasilyuk


After Sasha Vasilyuk's grandfather died his family found a letter he had written. It was a confession about a shameful secret he had been concealing since his days serving as an artilleryman in the Red Army.

The author has deep roots in Ukraine and Russia and this precious letter her grandfather left behind inspired her to write a novel about a Soviet soldier who resembles her grandfather in some ways, a man with a secret and a sense of shame about how he managed to survive WWII.

Yefim Shulman, her fictional soldier, was Jewish. When the Germans overran the Red Army positions in the Baltics in 1941 he was captured. In captivity he knew he had to find a way to conceal his ancestry if he wanted to survive. Shulman did survive by defying incredible odds. Then he returned to the USSR where former POWs were treated like pariahs by the Soviet government.

This is quite a story and an auspicious debut by the author.

The Book Nook on WYSO is presented by the Greene County Public Library with additional support from Washington-Centerville Public LibraryClark County Public LibraryDayton Metro LibraryWright Memorial Public Library, and Tipp City Public.

Vick Mickunas introduced the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1500 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities. Listen to the Book Nook with Vick Mickunas for intimate conversations about books with the writers who create them. Vick Mickunas reviews books for the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun.