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In this timely work of historical fiction by E. J. Wiens, the narrator, Peter Enns, a retired teacher in Manitoba, faces judgement as a war criminal. He relives his childhood and youth during the Stalinist terrors and escape following the Nazi occupation of his Mennonite village in Ukraine, then a refugee in Germany, an interlude in Paraguay, and finally three troubled decades as a father and teacher in Canada. While he awaits his fate he struggles with his judgement upon himself, haunted by memories of looming figures from his Mennonite past, and above all by the shrouded presence of Antoine, his mentor and idol during his youth and early manhood.


About the Author.

Erwin J. Wiens was born in Edmonton and raised in Niagara. He received his MA from the University of Waterloo and his doctorate in English Literature from the University of Ottawa. In 1990, he toured the Soviet Union, where he visited the former Mennonite colonies in southern Ukraine, his distant relatives east of the Urals, and two elderly survivors of the gulag.


‘This overwhelming story asks: does Peter Enns dare to remember what he has done and not done, and what was done by those he loved, or hated . . . Dare to follow Peter as he unflinchingly remembers, and discover the beauty, the guilt, the goodness, the horror of being a human being in the “demented” 20th century.’ Rudy Wiebe, novelist


‘. . . a powerful novel that digs deeply into the lives of Mennonite families in Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany . . . sometimes noir-ish stories with tension and terror, about loyalties and betrayals, whether as comedy or tragedy. . . at once visceral and cerebral.’ Paul Tiessen, Professor Emeritus, Wilfred Laurier University


‘. . . a vivid portrayal of individual Russian Mennonites during a heart-rending chapter in their history, . . . deeply challenging, and hard to put down.’ William Janzen, former Director MCC Ottawa


Excerpt. I am like a ghost among them, but my presence does not haunt them. I am just some sordid business from the past for the proper authorities to deal with. I scorn their judgment, but unless I be judged I am nothing. So I take pen and paper and turn to you, Antoine.

To Antoine, by E. J. Wiens

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