The Singing Forest
A NYT Book Review Best Historical Fiction Book of the Year
"The Singing Forest blends thought-provoking reflections on the moral reckoning of war crimes with ... a young woman’s attempts to decode her eccentric professional and personal families."—Alida Becker, New York Times
In attempting to bring a suspected war criminal to justice, a lawyer wrestles with power, accountability, and her Jewish identity.
In a quiet forest in Belarus, two boys make a gruesome find that reveals a long-kept secret: the mass grave where Stalin’s police buried thousands of murder victims in the 1930s. The results of the subsequent investigation—30,000 dead—has far-reaching effects, and across the Atlantic in Toronto, young lawyer Leah Jarvis finds herself tasked with an impossible case: the trial of elderly Stefan Drozd, a former member of Stalin’s forces, who fled his crimes in Kurapaty for a new identity in Canada. Though Leah is convinced of Drozd’s guilt, she needs hard facts. Determined to bring him to justice, she travels to Belarus in search of witnesses—and finds herself piecing together another set of evidence: her mother’s death, her father’s absence, the shadows of her Jewish heritage. Lyrical and wrenching by turns, The Singing Forest is a profound investigation of memory, truth, and the stories that tell us who we are.