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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
Dineh is an autobiographical novel by Ida Maze and is translated by Yermiyahu Ahron Taub from Yiddish to English. Describing the personal experience of a woman living through the First Russian Revolution in the form of an autobiography, Dineh takes the readers to an impoverished part of Russia where breathing was a luxury. Set in the village of Ugli, Dineh belonged to one of the two Jewish families in the village. While life was already tough, it became worse when the Czar demanded that all the Jewish people must sell their lands. In the midst of it all, Dineh craved the simple luxuries of life: education, a place in the community, and a place to call home. When everything is lost, and there is nothing left to gain, Dineh is forced to emigrate to America in the hope of finding a better future.
Ida Maze paints a painful picture of hurt, injustice, prejudice, and religious dilemma as Dineh’s family was singled out just because they were Jews. The narrative has a lyrical quality to it, and I believe translator Yermiyahu Ahron Taub deserves credit for that. So much integrity of a written piece can be lost in translation, but reading this autobiography felt as if nothing was missing. The narrative in Dineh was straightforward, raw, and held nothing back. The descriptions were perfect, the imagery was vivid, and the author (and translator) made sure the reader’s emotions were always in synch with the characters. This autobiography will not only be helpful to people who want to get more personal information about the impact of the First Russian Revolution but also for casual readers who enjoy autobiographies.