Twelve German Tales from Russia. Twelve Tales of Fantasy and the Supernatural

By Samuel D. Sinner

Illustrated by Melissa Sinner, Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo, North Dakota, 2003, 35 pages, 12 illustrations, softcover.

Only one thousand copies of this limited edition will ever be printed. Hand- numbered from one to one thousand.

** Sinner, Samuel D. Illustrated by Melissa Sinner. Twelve German Tales from Russia: Twelve Tales of Fantasy and the Supernatural. Fargo, ND: Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries, 2003. [Book available from GRHC.] [English] NDL

Bearing a dedication to author Ronald J. Vossler, Twelve German Tales from Russia is a delightful collection of original reworkings of twelve traditional German-Russian folktales. Gathered from a variety of older written and oral sources, the reader will find memories of ancient, vanished beliefs and practices come to life again. These tales of fantasy and the supernatural will be continually enjoyed by older and younger readers alike. Each tale is accompanied by an enchanting and haunting full-page illustration that brings the words to life for the reader. Additionally, the front and back covers are attractively decorated with Art Nouveau illustrations.

From ghosts, goblins, prophecy by onion splitting on New Years Eve, buried treasure in glowing grave mounds, to shooting stars, red moons, and pipe-smoking pastors, these tales vividly portray beliefs and folk practices from a forgotten age. At times humorous, the collection narrates these tales with conviction, revealing the wisdom and truth in the traditional beliefs and folk practices of the Germans from Russia.

Like William Butler Yeats recording ancient Irish fairytales and supernatural legends, Sinner presents these German-Russian tales as not only entertaining, but also as important relics of an ethnic people’s authentic wisdom. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, countless books and movies of fantasy and the supernatural are flooding the market, from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, filling a vacuum created by the tedium, emptiness, and hectic pace of modern life in the computer age. These twelve ethnic tales from Russia fill the same need for a simpler yet more magical world felt by many modern German Russians.

About the Author and Illustrator

With ancestors from the Black Sea villages of Worms and Rohrbach, and the Volga-German villages of Frank and Norka, Melissa Sinner received her B.A. in 1999 in English Literature at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), with a dual minor in Anthropology and Women's Studies. An artist and web site designer, Melissa spends her free time reading English literature and entertaining her cat.

Samuel Sinner received his Ph.D. in Modern Languages and Literatures from UNL in 2002. He has published on the Holocaust, Soviet history and literature, and related topics. In 2002, the Germans from Russia Heritage Society published his Autumn Thoughts--Under Ruins and Snow. An Experiment in Ethnic Anthology. Two Centuries of German-Russian Poetry, Short Stories, and Essays. The volume contains Sinner's translations of Russian and German-language poetry, as well as several of his own original poems and short stories.

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Review by Edna Boardman

Twelve German Tales from Russia

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